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Am J Psychiatry 1952;109:241-248.
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The prolonged miserable circumstances of living during 3½ years of imprisonment as prisoners of war of the Japanese have been outlined. An estimated 12,000 of 30,000, or 40%, survived this experience unique in the history of American people. An attempt has been made to state some of the factors that seemed to the writer to influence survival favorably. These factors in summary consisted of a strong motivation for life with persistent exertion of will, good general intelligence, good constitution, emotional insensitivity or well-controlled and balanced sensitivity, a preserved sense of humor, a strong sense of obligation to others, controlled fantasy life, courage, successful active or passive resistance to the captors, luck, opportunism, and a few preceding years of military experience.

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