Splits in the self following immigration: An adaptive defense or a pathological reaction?

Sophie D. Walsh, Shmuel Shulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-372
Number of pages18
JournalPsychoanalytic Psychology
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • Adaptation difficulties
  • Adaptive defense
  • Damage to self
  • Immigration
  • Mourning processes
  • Splitting in a sense of self

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