Among the adverse mental health consequences of childhood trauma is the risk related to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PfSD) in adulthood. Other risk factors for PfSD, including parental trauma exposure and parental PfSD, can also contribute to the experience of child trauma. We examined associations between childhood trauma and PfSD in 51 adult children of Holocaust survivors and 41 comparison subjects, in consideration of parental trauma exposure and parental PfSD. We also examined these variables in relation to 24-hr urinary cortisol levels. Adult offspring of Holocaust survivors showed significantly higher levels of self-reported childhood trauma, particularly emotional abuse and neglect, relative to comparison subjects. The difference was largely attributable to parental PfSD. Self-reported childhood trauma was also related to severity of PfSD in subjects, and emotional abuse was significantly associated with 24-hr mean urinary cortisol secretion. We conclude that the experience of childhood trauma may be an important factor in the transmission of PfSD from parent to child.
|Title of host publication||The Science of Mental Health|
|Subtitle of host publication||Stress and the Brain - Volume 9|
|Editors||Steven E. Hyman|
|Place of Publication||London, U. K.|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2013|
ASJC Scopus subject areas