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Fink, K. (2003). Magnitude of trauma and personality change. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 84(4):985-995.

(2003). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 84(4):985-995

Research

Magnitude of trauma and personality change

Klaus Fink

In this paper the author postulates that, in post-traumatic personality structures caused by overwhelming traumatic experiences, pre-traumatic personality features and childhood experiences are of little or no relevance. Sixty-four survivors of Nazi concentration camps are examined, their concentration camp experiences detailed and pre-persecution histories and post-persecution psychopathology studied. The significance of a concentration camp experience is analytically discussed and evaluated. This study shows that 5 2 cases (81.2%) of the 64 survivors of concentration camps presented an almost identical depressive personality structure irrespective of their pre-persecution life history. The 64 survivors of concentration camps are psychologically compared to 78 cases of people who, in view of the menacing circumstances, decided to emigrate and in this way were spared from becoming victims of the Nazi ‘final solution’ Finally, the author discusses the value of psychoanalytical treatment.

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