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Psychiatric disorders and other health dimensions among Holocaust survivors 6 decades later

  • Asaf Sharon (a1), Itzhak Levav (a2), Jenny Brodsky (a1), Annarosa Anat Shemesh (a3) and Robert Kohn (a4)...

Abstract

Background

No previous community-based epidemiological study has explored psychiatric disorders among those who survived the Holocaust.

Aims

To examine anxiety and depressive disorders, sleep disturbances, other health problems and use of services among individuals exposed and unexposed to the Holocaust.

Method

The relevant population samples were part of the Israel World Mental Health Survey. The interview schedule included the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and other health-related items.

Results

The Holocaust survivor group had higher lifetime (16.1%; OR = 6.8, 95% CI 1.9–24.2) and 12-month (6.9%; OR = 22.5, 95% CI 2.5–204.8) prevalence rates of anxiety disorders, and more current sleep disturbances (62.4%; OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.4–4.4) and emotional distress (P<0.001) than their counterparts, but did not have higher rates of depressive disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Conclusions

Early severe adversity was associated with psychopathological disorder long after the end of the Second World War, but not in all survivors. Age during the Holocaust did not modify the results.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Itzhak Levav, Ministry of Health, 29 Rivka, Jerusalem 93461, Israel. Email: Itzhak.Levav@moh.health.gov.il

Footnotes

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The Israel National Health Survey (INHS) was funded by the Ministry of Health. The Israel National Institute for Health Policy and Health Services Research and the National Insurance Institute provided additional support.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Psychiatric disorders and other health dimensions among Holocaust survivors 6 decades later

  • Asaf Sharon (a1), Itzhak Levav (a2), Jenny Brodsky (a1), Annarosa Anat Shemesh (a3) and Robert Kohn (a4)...

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Psychiatric disorders and other health dimensions among Holocaust survivors 6 decades later

  • Asaf Sharon (a1), Itzhak Levav (a2), Jenny Brodsky (a1), Annarosa Anat Shemesh (a3) and Robert Kohn (a4)...
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