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Walsh, S.D. Shulman, S. (2007). Splits in the Self Following Immigration: An Adaptive Defense or a Pathological Reaction?. Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(2):355-372.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(2):355-372

Splits in the Self Following Immigration: An Adaptive Defense or a Pathological Reaction?

Sophie D. Walsh, Ph.D. and Shmuel Shulman, Ph.D.

This study examines the extent to which splits in the sense of self following immigration can be seen to be an adaptive defense, allowing the self time to adapt and adjust to a new reality or rather a pathological reaction to the trauma of migration. In-depth interviews were conducted with 68 emerging adult immigrants in Israel from the Former Soviet Union around sense of self and the immigration experience. One year following the first interview, levels of functioning were assessed. Results showed that attempts to resolve splits (self/ object) early after immigration led to an initially lower level of psychological symptoms, but one year later to an increased level of symptoms, suggesting that attempts of precocious resolution are likely to lead to subsequent adaptation difficulties.

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