The authors provide a within-group study of 65 Former Hidden Children (FHC; i.e., Jewish youths who spent World War II in various hideaway shelters across Nazi-occupied Europe) evaluated by the Hopkins Symptom Check List (HSCL), the Sense of Coherence Scale (SOCS), the Resilience Scale for Adults (RSA), and a socio-demographic questionnaire. The aim of the present article is to address the sensitization model of resilience (consisting in a reduction of resistance to additional stress due to previous exposure to trauma) and to identify the family, psychological, and socio-demographic characteristics that predict resilience among a group of FHC. The RSA score is negatively correlated with the number of post-war traumas and positively correlated with the SOCS score. FHC who have children present a higher RSA score than FHC who have no children. RSA global score negatively and significantly predicts HSCL score. In a global multivariate model, and in accordance with the sensitization model, the number of post-war traumas negatively predicts the RSA score. Moreover, the SOCS score and the number of children positively predict it. Therapeutic implications are discussed, limitations are considered, and further investigations are proposed.
Keywords: Holocaust survivors; resilience; trauma.