Functioning and mortality of holocaust survivors: Physical resilience and psychosocial vulnerabilities

Amit Shrira, Yuval Palgi, Menachem Ben-Ezra, Dov Shmotkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study aimed to examine Shmotkin's model according to which older people who experienced trauma would commonly demonstrate a general, mainly physical, resilience coupled with specific, mainly psychosocial, vulnerabilities. Examining Holocaust survivors and comparisons drawn from two national samples of older Israelis (N=477 and N=210), survivors did not differ in physical health markers but showed lower functioning in psychosocial markers. Concentration camp survivors demonstrated a lower or a similar mortality risk compared to other groups depending on the sample. Our findings support Shmotkin's model and imply that elderly Holocaust survivors represent a select group with a remarkable biopsychosocial constitution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Loss and Trauma
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The first two waves of the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study (CALAS) were funded by grants from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (R01-5885-03 and R01-5885-06) and conducted by the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center. The Israeli Multidisciplinary Aging Study (IMAS) was funded by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy (Grant A/2/1998).


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