Peter Suedfeld's Holocaust Research

Peter Suedfeld's Holocaust research is divided into two primary categories: The analysis of Holocaust survivor video interviews, partly in collaboration with Dr. Robert Krell from the Department of Psychiatry (Archival research); and the collection and analysis of questionnaires given to participants at Holocaust survivor reunions (Questionnaire research). The research analyzes such variables as the survivors' assumptions about the world and their control over it, their general life satisfaction, their achievement motivation, and their attributional styles. In addition, questions are addressed examining the impact of the Holocaust on the participants' subsequent lives, and on their current opinions on issues such as politics and religion. The interviews are usually content analyzed, whereas the questionnaires allow more in-depth analyses such as the measurement of intellectual style to see what, if any, effect the Holocaust may have had on survivors' modes of thought (e.g., decision making).

One important recurring finding in these studies supports Suedfeld's general philosophy that human beings are far more resilient than is typically believed. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, Suedfeld's research shows that survivors on the whole have adapted very well in terms of mental health, family and social relations, occupational success, and contributions to society as a whole. These findings are typified by, but not exclusive to, the following publications:

Suedfeld, P. (2002) Life after the ashes: The postwar pain, and resilience, of young Holocaust survivors. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: Center for Advanced Studies (pp. 1-24). Washington, D. C.

Suedfeld, P. (Ed.) (2001). Light from the ashes: Social science careers of young Holocaust refugees and survivors. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Suedfeld, P. (1997). Reactions to societal trauma: Distress and/or Eustress. Political Psychology, 18, 849-861.

Suedfeld, P., Krell, R., Wiebe, R., & Steel, G. D. (1997). Coping strategies in the narratives of Holocaust survivors. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 10, 153-179.

Click for a complete list of Dr. Suedfeld's relevant publications on this topic.

For general information on the Holocaust, please visit the links page.

Current Projects

Questionnaire Research Archival Research

Last updated: Monday, June 7, 2004

Follow this link to see a complete list of Dr. Suedfeld's relevant publications on this topic.
For general information on the Holocaust, please visit the links page.

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This web-site describes the research and other achievements of Dr. Peter Suedfeld, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia.

This page describes Dr. Suedfeld's Holocaust research. The rest of the site is organized under the following topic headings:

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