Transgenerational transmission of trauma: Psychiatric evaluation of offspring of former “comfort women,” survivors of the japanese military sexual slavery during world war II

Jeewon Lee, Young Sook Kwak, Yoon Jung Kim, Eun Ji Kim, E. Jin Park, Yunmi Shin, Bun Hee Lee, So Hee Lee, Hee Yeon Jung, Inseon Lee, Jung Im Hwang, Dongsik Kim, Soyoung Irene Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

“Comfort women” are survivors of sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, who endured extensive trauma including massive rape and physical torture. While previous studies have been focused on the trauma of the survivors themselves, the effects of the trauma on the offspring has never been evaluated before. In this article, we reviewed the first study on the offspring of former “comfort women” and aimed to detect the evidence of transgenerational transmission of trauma. In-depth psychiatric interviews and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 Axis I Disorders were conducted with six offspring of former “comfort women.” Among the six participants, five suffered from at least one psychiatric disorder including major depressive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorder, insomnia disorder, somatic symptom disorder, and alcohol use disorder. Participants showed similar shame and hyperarousal symptoms as their mothers regarding stimuli related to the “comfort woman” issue. Increased irritability, problems with aggression control, negative worldview, and low self-esteem were evident in the children of mothers with posttraumatic stress disorder. Finding evidence of transgenerational transmission of trauma in offspring of “comfort women” is important. Future studies should include more samples and adopt a more objective method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-253
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Investigation
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Comfort women
  • Second generation
  • Transgenerational transmission of trauma

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