Collective Memory of Political Events: Social Psychological Perspectives

By James W. Pennebaker; Dario Paez et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
Social Sharing, Emotional Climate, and the Transgenerational Transmission of Memories: The Portuguese Colonial War

Jose Marques University of Porto, Portugal

Dario Paez University of the Basque Country, Spain

Alexandra F. Serra University of Porto, Portugal

Epidemiological research has shown that between 25% and 40% of the people who were either victims or initiators of massacres, combat, or wars, as well as those who were victims of other forms of extreme violence, endure symptomatic states such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This percentage increases to 60% in rape victims ( Davidson & Foa, 1991; Echeburúa, 1992; Janoff-Bulman, 1992; Modell & Haggerty, 1991). The more these traumatic events display characteristics of collective violence and repression, and the more intense they are, the more they tend to generate psychological disorders ( Davidson & Foa, 1991; Janoff-Bulman, 1992). The psychological concomitants of traumatic events comprise several dimensions: psychophysiological hyperreactivity ( Davidson & Foa, 1991; Janoff-Bulman, 1992), intrusive thoughts and memories ( Horowitz, 1986; Steinglass & Gerrity, 1990), cognitive and behavioral avoidance symptoms, as well as problems to seize, grasp, and express inner emotions and establish intimate relationships ( Davidson & Baum, 1986). In addition, traumatic events drastically alter the view of oneself, of the world, and of other people ( Janoff-Bulman, 1992), resulting in a lack of the positive cognitive biases that characterize normal situations and positive mood ( Janoff-Bulman , 1992; Taylor & Brown, 1988).

Apparently, traumatic events have but a relative impact on individuals. In the months and years following the experience of a traumatic event,

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