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IMAJ | volume 20

Journal 4, April 2018
pages: 207-210

Aging of Holocaust Survivors: Discrepancies Between Subjective and General Health in the greater Tel Aviv Area

Summary

Aging has been associated with perceived lowering of health, especially in post-traumatic individuals. The effects may be more complex or even different for Holocaust survivors as they age due to their inherited resilience and life perspective. A cross-sectional study was conducted of Holocaust survivors and a matched comparison group recruited from the general Israeli population. All participants underwent a personal interview and completed the Cumulative Illness Rating Scale and a survey of subjective Likert-scale questions about perceived health. The study comprised 214 older adults: 107 Holocaust survivors and 107 comparison participants; 101 women and 113 men. The mean age for the participants was 80.7 ± 4.7 years (range 68–93). Holocaust survivors did not differ from comparison subjects in general health measures (mean 51.50 ± 3.06 vs. 52.27 ± 3.24, respectively). However, the Holocaust survivors' subjective health was significantly lower, F (2,211) = 4.18, P < 0.05, and associated with decreased quality of life. The present study demonstrates the complex interplay between general and subjective health and suggests that future interventions need to focus on improving the psychological and social well-being of Holocaust survivors to achieve successful aging.

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