The psychosocial aspects of children exposed to war: Practice and policy initiatives. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 41-62

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 02/2004; 45(1):41-62. DOI: 10.1046/j.0021-9630.2003.00304.x
Source: PubMed


The atrocities of war have detrimental effects on the development and mental health of children that have been documented since World War II. To date, a considerable amount of knowledge about various aspects of this problem has been accumulated, including the ways in which trauma impacts child mental health and development, as well as intervention techniques, and prevention methods. Considering the large populations of civilians that experience the trauma of war, it is timely to review existing literature, summarize approaches for helping war-affected children, and suggest future directions for research and policy.

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    • "r observed variables . Indeed , the conceptualization of stress exposure and the PTSD syndrome as latent variables , their operationalization by virtue of a selected set of common variables , and their measurement based on aggregated counts risk to mask important ways in which people are differentially exposed to and affected by stressful events ( Barenbaum et al . , 2004 ; Netland , 2005 ; Layne et al . , 2009 ; Betancourt et al . , 2010 ) . In what follows , we therefore scrutinize these limitations and introduce the network approach as an alternative way to conceptualize and operationalize stress exposure and mental health in the context of armed conflict . RESTRICTIONS OF LATENT VARIABLE MODELS It ha"
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    ABSTRACT: Conflict-affected populations are exposed to stressful events during and after war, and it is well established that both take a substantial toll on individuals' mental health. Exactly how exposure to events during and after war affect mental health is a topic of considerable debate. Various hypotheses have been put forward on the relation between stressful war exposure (SWE), daily stressors (DS) and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This paper seeks to contribute to this debate by critically reflecting upon conventional modeling approaches and by advancing an alternative model to studying interrelationships between SWE, DS, and PTSD variables. The network model is proposed as an innovative and comprehensive modeling approach in the field of mental health in the context of war. It involves a conceptualization and representation of variables and relationships that better approach reality, hence improving methodological rigor. It also promises utility in programming and delivering mental health support for war-affected populations.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Frontiers in Psychology
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    • "The relationship between war-trauma exposure and children's psychological distress in this sample has been previously reported (Llabre & Hadi, 1997). Our findings are consistent with research on the effects of war on children (Barenbaum, Ruchkin, & Schwab-Stone, 2004). We extended previous child-trauma research by specifying parental distress as a potential mediator of this relationship. "
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    ABSTRACT: We tested a conceptual model of the effect of war-trauma exposure in childhood on psychological distress in young adulthood. Participants included 151 urban Kuwaiti children (51% female; M age = 10.62 years) exposed to the 1990-1991 Gulf crisis (assessed in 1993); participants also included 140 parents (81% female; M age mothers = 36.50 years; M age fathers = 41 years). In 2003, 120 participants were reassessed as young adults (50% female; M age = 21.19 years). The conceptual model was evaluated with structural equations. War-trauma exposure was associated with psychological distress in children and parents, but parents reported larger effects than children. Parents' psychological distress did not contribute to children's psychological distress. Children's psychological distress did not dissipate over time. Social support may function as a potential mediator of the effect of war-trauma exposure on psychological distress. Findings support the importance of early detection and treatment of children exposed to war trauma. Findings also implicate social support as a factor to consider in clinical interventions for children exposed to war trauma.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
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    • "Interventionists should implement necessary treatment adaptations. More specifically, it is imperative to recognize factors that constitute the child's cultural world, including social relationships, community support, ontogenic beliefs, as well as religious practices and beliefs (Barenbaum et al. 2004). The impact of these cultural components must be examined across the child's life span, not simply from the period surrounding the traumatic event. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background This paper outlines conclusions from a three-day workgroup hosting the eight authors as well as others with expertise in the evaluation and treatment of youth exposed to war and violence. Objective The purpose of this meeting was to bring multiple perspectives together to identify components that comprise effective psychosocial interventions for child victims of war and community violence across cultures. The meeting also sought to identify gaps in the existing treatment approaches. Method In the meeting, personal experiences and previous research were discussed to develop a wide-ranging intervention approach, determine a cohesive definition for “indirect” exposure, and identify successful methods of intervention delivery for youth exposed to acts of war and violence. Results and Conclusions Key components of intervention for youth exposed to war/violence, important outcome measures, and cultural differences that may influence effective intervention were identified. A clearer definition of “indirect” exposure was also developed. Finally, a nine-phase model was developed to provide guidelines for establishing partnerships between trauma teams and other organizations or schools to implement and disseminate treatment for this population.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Child and Youth Care Forum
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