Trauma, Rememory and Language in Holodomor Survivors’ Narratives

Keywords: PTSD, rememory, traumatic narrative, language use, psycholinguistic markers, Holodomor survivors.


The objective of the research is to examine language use in Holodomor survivors ‘narratives as psycholinguistic markers of mental trauma and PTSD. The specific objective is to explore rememory as a cognitive strategy of releasing suppressed traumatic events.

Materials & Methods. 42 survivors of the Holodomor of 1932–1933 in Ukraine were recruited for producing a traumatic narrative. The inclusion criterion for participants was their personal history of being Holodomor survivors. Holodomor survivor is defined as a person who was exposed to the genocide and unprecedented starvation in 1932–1933. The study took place in 2003–2005, average age of participants is 84.5, SD = 4.8, 29 females and 13 males. The study applies LIWC (Linguistic Inventory Word Count) to analyze the traumatic narratives and captures linguistic units and the psychological meaningful categories. The study applies the exploratory design utilizing the independent variables of categories of time, I and cognitive processes and dependent variable of word count in a traumatic narrative for multiple regression analysis, SPSS. 26. Results. The main issue that emerges from the findings is that categories of I, time, and cognitive processes taken together contribute to word count. However, only categories of time (positive predictor) and cognitive processes (negative predictor) are independent significant predictors of word count. Therefore, we can assume that a poor reappraisal of traumatic events and overestimation of time in the rememory of traumatic narratives indicate PTSD symptoms in Holodomor survivors.

Conclusions. Rememory as a cognitive strategy has a positive impact on developing collective identity and filling gaps in the Ukrainian history, however, it does not affect the therapeutic effect in treating PTSD.


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How to Cite
Zasiekina, L. (2020). Trauma, Rememory and Language in Holodomor Survivors’ Narratives. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 27(1), 80-94.