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ScientificWorldJournal. 2012;2012:367545. doi: 10.1100/2012/367545. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Mental health among former child soldiers and never-abducted children in northern Uganda.

Author information

1
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, University of Padova, via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, Italy. ughetta.moscardino@unipd.it

Abstract

The present study aimed to evaluate posttraumatic stress symptoms, psychological distress, and emotional and behavioral problems in former Ugandan child soldiers in comparison with civilian children living in the same conflict setting. Participants included 133 former child soldiers and 101 never-abducted children in northern Uganda, who were interviewed about exposure to traumatic war-related experiences, posttraumatic stress symptoms, psychological distress, and emotional and behavioral problems. Results indicated that former child soldiers had experienced significantly more war-related traumatic events than nonabducted children, with 39.3% of girls having been forced to engage in sexual contact. Total scores on measures of PTSD symptoms, psychological distress, and emotional and behavioral problems were significantly higher among child soldiers compared to their never-abducted peers. Girls reported significantly more emotional and behavioral difficulties than boys. In never-abducted children, more mental health problems were associated with experiencing physical harm, witnessing the killings of other people, and being forced to engage in sexual contact.

PMID:
22654596
PMCID:
PMC3361175
DOI:
10.1100/2012/367545
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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