Peace and Conflict Journal of Peace Psychology

Published by American Psychological Association

Online ISSN: 1532-7949


Print ISSN: 1078-1919


The Differential Impact on Children of Inter- and Intra-Community Violence in Northern Ireland
  • Article
  • Full-text available

October 2009


144 Reads



Kathleen Ellis




Ed Cairns
This study explores distinctions in Northern Ireland between inter-community (i.e. sectarian) and intra-community (i.e. nonsectarian) violence and their respective impacts on children, and considers these forms of violence in relation to children's processes of emotional security about community conflict. Preliminary work was based on focus groups with mothers in Belfast, followed by a quantitative study involving mothers in Derry/Londonderry. Support emerged for a conceptually-based distinction between sectarian and nonsectarian violence and differential prediction of children's adjustment problems, which was more closely linked with sectarian than nonsectarian community violence. Pertinent to explanatory mechanisms, community violence, especially sectarian, related to mothers' perceptions of children's emotional insecurity about community. Findings are discussed in terms of future directions for understanding community violence and child development in cultural context.

Nuclear Weapons Concerns, Agency Beliefs, and Social Responsibility Values in Disarmament Activism
Investigated the contributions of concerns with nuclear weapons, personal control beliefs, and social responsibility values to the determination of antinuclear activism beyond the effects of attitudes and attitude strength. 172 undergraduates (mean age 22.14 yrs) completed measures on antinuclear activism, antinuclear concerns, social responsibility, antinuclear attitude, and attitude strength. Results indicate concerns about the danger of nuclear weapons, perceptions of personal control, and social responsibility values accounted for a larger portion of the variance of antinuclear activism than antinuclear attitudes and attitude strength combined. Findings are discussed in terms of the nature of attitudes and beliefs and the relevance of these factors to involvement in peace and other social issues in a global community. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Children’s Experience and Adjustment to Political Conflict in Northern Ireland

June 2000


366 Reads

Examined 354 male and 335 female school-age (8–11 yrs old) children's self-reported experience of a number of negative life events, including a number of conflict-related events in relation to gender, age, socioeconomic status, and religious affiliation. Measures included an experience of negative events scale and Harter's Self-Perception Profile for Children. The reports suggest that children's experience of conflict-related events is considerable. One quarter of the sample had witnessed shootings and street riots. Main and interaction effects were observed that related children's reported experiences to gender, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic background. The relationship between exposure to political conflict and children's perceived competence was also examined, while accounting for psychosocial factors that independently affect perceived competence. This analysis suggested that children reporting lower behavioural competence are more likely to report experience of conflict-related events whereas lower global self-worth was related to experience of nonconflict-related negative events. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

The Changing Nature of Armed Conflict and its Implications for Children

December 1998


108 Reads

Over the past several decades, a new pattern of armed conflict has evolved, taking increasingly heavy tolls on communities and civilian populations. In the 1990s, most armed conflicts are intrastate affairs fought with relatively low technology in and around communities, where they kill mostly civilians, inflict extensive psychological damage, destroy communities, and displace masses of people. They also serve to normalize violence and to plant seeds of future armed conflicts. To assess the impact of this situation on children, the United Nations commissioned the first global study on Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, headed by G. Machel. The Study presents a holistic picture of the assault on children, examining issues of physical attack, landmines, sexual abuse, displacement, separation from parents, recruitment into military activity, nutritional deficiencies, stress of caregivers, and community destruction, among others. It also makes recommendations on how to more effectively protect the rights of children that are so badly damaged by armed conflict. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Assessing Cultures of Peace
The first Millennium issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (Boulding, Adams, Curie, de la Rey, Lamwaka, Oswald Spring, et al, 2000) suggested that we could envision cultures of peace. Having such a vision, imagining the possibility of a culture of peace, is the first step toward creating such a culture. The next step is to relate this ideal to reality. If our imagination is to inspire action, we must provide a bridge between the ideal and our present reality. To begin building this bridge, we must devise ways to assess where we currently stand. Such assessment may help us establish clear subgoals and concrete ways in which a culture of peace can be developed. This special issue (Vol 10[2]) is devoted to exploring how such assessment might be designed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

The university for social change and the legacy of Ignacio Martín-Baró, S. J

February 2012


60 Reads

This article examines the emergence of a remarkable stratum of Jesuit scholars at the Central American University José Simeón Cañas in El Salvador. In the 1970s, Jesuit intellectuals articulated a new vision on the relationship among the university, society, and politics, which informed their individual and collective work as scholars, educators, and social activists. Jesuit scholars Ignacio Martín-Baró, Ignacio Ellacuría, Jon Cortina, Jon Sobrino, Segundo Montes, and César Jerez played major roles in this process. Since the early 1970s, state institutions, the official press, business associations, and clandestine paramilitary groups known as “death squads” deemed the Jesuit scholars and other popular intellectuals the instigators of Marxist subversion in El Salvador. They articulated a set of public discourses and public opinion campaigns that sought to justify state terror against the Jesuit scholars. The intellectual legacy of Ignacio Martín-Baró is inextricably linked to this historical process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

The Bell Curve: Illumination or confusion about human intelligence?

June 1995


11 Reads

Reviews the book, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life by Richard J. Hermstein and Charles Murray (see record 1994-98748-000). There there is much to be said for writing a book that examines the ways in which intelligence scores can provide useful markers of important differences, particularly a book that acknowledges, as The Bell Curve, that although the predictive power of test scores is very small so far as individuals are concerned, it is more substantial (and therefore potentially more useful) when it comes to making statements about the average expectations of large groups of people. This lengthy book looks at some interesting issues, but because the contents of The Bell Curve are too confused and too closely tied to the assumptions and preconceptions underlying the authors' point of view, it fails to provide readers with a reliable guide to the current state of knowledge about the concerns it raises. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Peace building and theory building.

March 2004


40 Reads

Reviews the book, "Peace Building in Northern Ireland, Israel and South Africa: Transition, Transformation and Reconciliation," by Colin Knox and Padraic Quirk. The book written at a time when, to all intents and purposes, Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine, and South Africa were emerging from conflict-with the Belfast Agreement of 1998, the Palestinian National Authority, and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Today, the prospects for peace in these societies have become more divergent, heightening a central concern of this book: the need for theory building. Overall, this is a well written and engaging study; it provides a useful overview to literature in the field, and raises-for the critical reader-some key issues for further reflection and research. The structure of the book is to offer a brief overview of macrolevel political developments in each society over the past decade or so-largely drawn from standard secondary texts and current affairs magazines. This work represents an important step toward raising concerns that should be addressed in theorizing peace-building. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Better peacekeeping through bureaucracy.

March 1998


7 Reads

Reviews the book, The New UN Peacekeeping: Building Peace in Lands of Conflict after the Cold War by Steven R. Ratner (1995). There have been many recent accounts of peacekeeping that suggest it has entered a second "golden era," or some similar idea associated with the now-cliched "new world order." Peacekeeping here is viewed "as an instrument of international organization and law-a way of and process for securing important, shared values". In summation, although Ratner clearly approves of expanded UN peacekeeping and clearly is fond of and committed to "the Organization," his book ends up not being a very eloquent statement in support of those who would toast the Organization's new golden age. There appears to be no internal compass in this book and I am left unsure of what lessons one may draw from it. In the oddest twist of all, Ratner concludes with practical tips for reforming the UN bureaucracy and helping it better manage future peacekeeping operations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Linking theory and practice in conflict resolution: Foundations and challenges.

September 2001


45 Reads

Reviews the book, The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice edited by M. Deutsch and P. T. Coleman (see record 2006-12760-000). This superb volume provides a broad, masterful overview of the social psychological dynamics of conflict and processes of constructive conflict management. The field of conflict resolution, being relatively young and characterized by a dizzying array of practices and training methods, needs stronger theoretical guidance and linkages between theory and practice. This book addresses this need by offering a powerful, integrative conceptual platform for applied work at different levels. The co-editors note that although the links between theory and practice are bi-directional, the handbook emphasizes the theory-to-practice pathway. Covering an impressive variety of topics, the book consists of 27 chapters by distinguished theorists and practitioners. The book is organized into eight sections using a scheme that the co-editors describe as somewhat arbitrary. Because the book has such a broad scope and aims to provide guidance for the future, there are a number of approaches, issues, and topics that probably should have received greater attention. The book is not necessarily at odds with this view so much as it is too silent about the importance of local cultural beliefs and practices, even if they do prove to fit within a universal framework. This book deserves a prominent place on the shelf of everyone who wants to stay abreast of the field of conflict resolution and to encourage a productive wedding of theory and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Negotiation as Problem Solving: Challenging the Dominant Metaphor

September 1999


6 Reads

Provides a commentary on H. C. Kelman's (see record 1999-11571-001) challenge to traditional views on the sharp distinction between problem solving and negotiation. Kelman suggests that "Track One," official negotiators should adopt some of the principles involved in "Track Two," unofficial conflict resolution. This author presents 3 reasons for not being optimistic about the adoption of the problem-solving metaphor by negotiators. The problems involve the basic structure of conflict resolution, which is practiced mostly in an adversarial manner, designed to maximize one's own side of the process, a situation not conducive to cooperative problem solving. The practicality of changing official processes which operate within a contestation metaphor is also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

A Hostile Reception: Women’s Realities of Civil Political Discourse in Democracies

December 2000


11 Reads

Comments on the D. W. Johnson and R. T. Johnson article (see record 2001-03059-001) which discussed the contribution of psychology to civil political discourse in a democracy. This commentary focuses on feminist insights into concepts of equality, citizenship, democracy, and political discourse and how such a perspective may raise issues and questions not considered by Johnson and Johnson's (this issue) theoretical model for civil political discourse. To illustrate our points, the authors draw on a number of cases from around the world to highlight some of the obstacles and challenges women face as they try to participate in civil political discourse. It is argued that unless the real external influences that limit women's ability to equally participate are addressed within a model of civil political discourse, in the end, such a model only will reinforce inequality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

The Psychopolitics of Hatred: Commentary on Ervin Staub’s Article
Comments on the article by E. Staub (see record 1999-15763-002) which discussed the origins and prevention of genocide, mass killing, and other collective violence. Post proposes that in order to understand the psychological basis for "ethnic cleansing" and man's inhumanity to man, it is critical to understand the powerful relationship of malignant leaders and vulnerable followers. At times of political and economic transition, hate-mongering demagogues, serving as malignant group therapists to their wounded nations, can provide sense-making explanations for their beleaguered followers, exporting the source of their difficulties to an external target, justifying hatred and mass violence. The loss of enemies in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet empire led to an intensification of ethnic-nationalist hatred as old enemies were revived and new enemies were created, providing a fertile climate for genocidal destruction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Table 3 Confirmatory Factor Analyses: Fit Indices and Model Comparisons Model Fit indices Model comparisons N 2 df CFI IFI NFI RMSEA 2 df 
Ethos of conflict: The concept and its measurement

February 2012


5,843 Reads

The main objective of the current research is to construct a scale that measures individual differences in adherence to the ethos of conflict (EOC). The development of such a scale is of importance because EOC is seen as a determinative concept in describing the worldview of society members involved in intractable conflict. The first study shows that the 8 themes of EOC load on a single factor, reflecting a holistic and coherent view of the conflict situation. The second study indicates that the EOC constitutes an independent construct. The third study shows that EOC partially mediates between general conservative orientations and judgments of specific solutions proposed to end the conflict. Altogether, the new scale can serve scholars who study sociopsychological mechanisms and dynamics involved in various intractable conflicts around the world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Interactive Problem Solving as a Metaphor for International Conflict Resolution: Lessons for the Policy Process

September 1999


9 Reads

Interactive problem solving is an unofficial, third-party approach to conflict resolution, which brings together politically influential representatives of conflicting parties for direct interaction in problem-solving workshops. Experiences from this microprocess are used here as a metaphor for the macroprocesses of negotiation and diplomacy. The use of interactive problem solving as a metaphor for the larger process of conflict resolution implies that the conflicting parties have a shared problem in their relationship, which needs to be solved by addressing the underlying causes and dynamics of the conflict in an interactive process. Within this framework, the article describes the ultimate goal of negotiation as transforming the relationship between the parties via an agreement that addresses the fundamental needs and fears of both on a basis of reciprocity. It then discusses 4 components of the larger process of conflict resolution—identification and analysis of the problem, joint shaping of ideas for solution, influencing the other side, and creating a supportive political environment—and procedures for each suggested by the metaphor of interactive problem solving. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Sports, Peace, and Conflict

December 1996


31 Reads

Introduces this special issue, Physical Activity and Youth Sports: Social and Moral Issues, of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. The author notes reasons for devoting an issue to physical activity and youth sports, including violence among children and youth, and the increasing amount of time available that individuals have due to the burgeoning transformation of work through automation. The author concludes that what forms sports will take will depend, in large part, on the values that are inculcated during childhood and youth. Those values are central to the ideas put forth in this issue. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Peace and conflict: Review of peace reference works.

September 1996


17 Reads

Reviews the book, Housman's Peace Diary and World Peace Directory 1996 (1995). This book was designed as a pocket directory and calendar for "activists" or peace organizational networkers. It contains a comprehensive listing of peace events and organizations, and is recommended by the reviewer to peace bureaucrats. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Resolving conflict: Theory and practice.

June 2002


30 Reads

Reviews the book, Collaborative Approaches for Resolving Conflict by Myra Isenhart and Michael Spangle (2000). The reviewer begins by commenting that the authors claim to have written a “conflict management survey book” in response to the growing number of students and practitioners in the conflict management field; they have succeeded admirably. The book is well-written, well-organized, and concise, with an unusual blend of theory and practice. It provides an excellent overview of various conflict resolution methods, and benefits from including not only examples of the use of these methods, but the profiles of a number of practitioners using each method as well. As the authors claim, practice with feedback is what virtually all the practitioners agreed is essential for imparting good conflict management skills; however, although highly recommended, many talked about the lack of opportunities to apprentice in the field. This highlights an area that needs to be addressed, that is, the creation of more formal opportunities for supervision and apprenticeship. Thus, the reviewer feels that this book would be a good resource for college and university students studying conflict, as well as human resource professionals concerned with reducing organizational conflict. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

The Hidden Structure of Contemporary Violence

September 1998


36 Reads

The concept of structural violence is related to the phenomenon of direct violence. The global economy is examined as one structural source useful in identifying the roots of diverse manifestations of violence. These manifestations include child abuse by refugees, AIDS among poor women, domestic terrorism, slave trade in prostitution, victimization from environmental contamination, and the abuse of children and women in sweatshops. The global economy is shown to be a prime factor in each case. It is also responsible for increasing disparities between the poor and the affluent. Finally, examples are presented of 2 promising programs designed to restrict the power of the global corporate economy to victimize local communities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Indicators for a Culture of Peace in Spain
This article uses the assessment template suggested by de Rivera (2004; see record 2004-20175-004) as a framework to assess the state of the culture of peace in Spain. After subjectively describing the current state of each of the aspects of the culture, it focuses on articulating the components of each aspect and identifying sources of indicators that could help in the objective assessment of the extent to which the culture exists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Debating peace: New or old?

June 2004


6 Reads

Reviews two books "The Post-Cold War Order: The Spoils of Peace" by Ian Clark and "Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace" by Rob McRae and Don Hubert. Taken together, Ian Clark's study and Rob MacRae and Don Hubert's edited collection provide an insight into the dimensions of the current debates about peace and security in the contemporary international system. They span the implicit debate about whether peace as an ideal form can be achieved through international regimes, multilateralism, and institutions, or whether the liberal peace much of the developed world is currently subject to betrays continuities with previous and discredited frameworks. This axis is specifically of significance for those working in the area of peace psychology because it underlines and expounds key perceptions of the nature of the contemporary peace, and of its evolution from the point of view of policymakers, thinkers, and officials who are engaged with responses to conflict and war. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Demanding Higher Standards: Evaluating the Effectiveness of International Interventions.

June 2005


15 Reads

Reviews the book "Ending Civil Wars: The Implementation of Peace Agreements" edited by Stephen John Stedman, Donald S. Rothchild, and Elizabeth M. Cousens (2002). This edited volume, Ending Civil Wars, emphasizes the importance of the successful implementation of peace agreements in creating a durable peace, and not simply the attainment of an agreement itself. Because the editors take the perspective that resources are limited, that the willingness of the international community to resolve conflicts is often restrained, and that implementation tasks and goals require prioritization, their analysis and conclusions are useful not only for political scientists, but also for policymakers who make decisions under political and economic constraints. Psychologists may find this volume helpful as well, for it offers clear descriptions of various elements of peacekeeping in which psychologists may be able to contribute to the peace process, such as refugee repatriation and human rights. The contributors to the first and second parts of the book explore which strategies are most likely to be successful under various conditions. The theoretical consistency of a common framework allows the case studies to yield meaningful comparative analysis and conclusions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

The Earliest Pioneer: Ralph K. White

December 2004


52 Reads

We begin this pioneer issue with portions of an autobiographical interview of Ralph White. The articles in the issue shed light on some of Ralph White's many contributions to peace psychology and reflects upon Ralph's immense value as first president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. Three substantial articles on topics related to major concepts that Ralph has championed as critical to an understanding of the psychology of peace and conflict. One of the article recounts the importance of "realistic empathy" to former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's reflections on U.S. policy during the Vietnam War. Another article recognizes the value of the cognitive conception of empathy and reviews his research broadening that conception to include an emotional component. One of the article extends his research to power motive imagery, as shown in case studies of speeches from U.S. President James Polk in the 1840s to President John F. Kennedy and members of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The issue concludes with a "special essay" by Ralph White on misperception in 10 cases of conflict engaged in by the United States, from World War I to the current conflict in the Middle East. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Peace Psychology in Germany

September 2005


29 Reads

This issue is devoted to Peace Psychology in Germany. The issue exclusively reports research conducted in Germany, in the sense that scholars working at institutions in Germany have been solicited to contribute. This excludes neither non-German nationals nor research with non-German subjects but it implies that the issue encompasses contributions from scientists working or having worked in a German institutional framework. Altogether, there are six articles. The first five contributions are essentially quantitative in their research methodology; the final contribution is a qualitative case study. Four of the six contributions are adaptations of contributions to "Forum Friedenspsychologie's" 16th Annual Conference of Peace Psychology in Bremen in 2003; two were solicited for this special issue. These contributions have been selected from among 11 original submissions that were reviewed on the grounds of a long abstract. Needless to say, earlier drafts of the six selected contributions have, of course, been peer-reviewed by members of the editorial board of the journal, and additionally by experienced German reviewers. Taken together, the selection of articles makes clear that German peace psychology does not just have one focus, but that its topical interests are manifold. However, it also becomes clear that peace psychology in Germany tends to be an offspring of social psychology. Four of the six contributions to this special issue clearly have a social psychological thrust. Other foci are less frequent. In this issue one finds an article that is rooted in developmental psychology and another one based in clinical and community psychology. A further important root of German peace psychology is, unfortunately, missing, namely that of media psychology and communication. Had it been possible to include such a contribution, one could even speak of a representative manifestation of the German peace psychology "landscape," a community clearly oriented towards social psychology, with some add-ons from developmental, clinical, and media psychology. To sum up, we wish non-German readers, in particular, an inspiring reading experience that hopefully will lead to more networking between German peace psychologists and peace psychologists from the United States and other parts of the world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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