It is estimated that approximately 300,000 children actively serve in various kinds of military groups around the world. Some of these children are forcibly conscripted through abduction or threats of violence to themselves or their families, others are coerced or manipulated into joining, and still others are more subtly compelled by circumstances that lead choosing to enlist to represent the lesser of the evils life has placed before them. No matter how they come to serve in war, however, child soldiers are exposed to, subjected to, and often forced to perpetrate horrors that meet or exceed our diagnostic criteria for trauma exposure.
This volume brings together leading investigators in the field to share new research regarding the traumatic impact of child soldiering from diverse international contexts, including Burundi, Colombia, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and—provocatively—among gang-involved youth in the United States. Contributions include data from longitudinal studies following former child soldiers into adulthood as well as investigations of the intergenerational impact of childhood conscription on former child combatants own children. In addition, research presented in this volume uncovers sources of resilience among these youth and details efforts to bring trauma-informed intervention and rehabilitation programs to these war-torn regions.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma.
Part 1: New Research on Trauma, Psychopathology and Resilience among Child Soldiers around the World
1. Introduction: New Research on Trauma, Psychopathology, and Resilience among Child Soldiers around the World Patricia K. Kerig and Cecilia Wainryb
Trauma Symptom Expression Among Former Child Soldiers
2. Complex Trauma Symptoms in Former Ugandan Child Soldiers Fiona Klasen, Johanna Gehrke, Franka Metzner, Monica Blotevogel, James Okello
3. Impact of Peer Support on PTSD, Hope, and Functional Impairment: A Mixed-Methods Study of Child Soldiers in Nepal Christopher A. Morley, Brandon A. Kohrt
Long–Term Impacts of Involvement in Child Soldiering
4. Child Soldiers as Adults: The Mozambique Case Study Neil Boothby and Blake Thompson
5. Children of Former Child Soldiers and Never-Conscripted Civilians: A Preliminary Intergenerational Study in Burundi Suzan J. Song, Joop de Jong, Ruth O’Hara and Cheryl Koopman
Implications of International Research on Child Soldiers for Studying Youth in the U.S.
6. America’s Child Soldiers: Toward a Research Agenda for Studying Gang-Involved Youth in the United States Patricia K. Kerig, Cecilia Wainryb, Michelle Sinayobye Twali and Shannon D. Chaplo
Part 2: Interventions to Promote Reintegration of Traumatized Youth Conscripted as Child Soldiers
7. Introduction: Interventions to Promote Reintegration of Traumatized Youth Conscripted as Child Soldiers Patricia K. Kerig and Cecilia Wainryb
Efforts to Promote Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Traumatized Former Child Soldiers
8. Reintegration of Former Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone: The Role of Caregivers and Their Awareness of the Violence Adolescents Experienced During the War Ivelina I. Borisova, Theresa S. Betancourt and John B. Willett
9. Participation‘ as Principle and Tool in Social Reintegration: Young Mothers Formerly Associated with Armed Groups in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Northern Uganda Angela Veale, Susan McKay, Miranda Worthen and Michael G. Wessells
10. Promoting Recovery After War in Northern Uganda: Reducing Daily Stressors by Alleviating Poverty Jeannie Annan, Eric P. Green and Moriah Brier
Toward the Future: Implications of Research and Intervention with Traumatized Former Child Soldiers
11. Toward a Relational Understanding of the Reintegration and Rehabilitation Processes of Former Child Soldiers Ilse Derluyn, Sofie Vindevogel and Lucia De Haene
12. The Person and the Societal Context: Future Directions for Research on the Traumatic Effects of Child Soldiering Around the World Cecilia Wainryb and Patricia K. Kerig