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J Trauma Stress. 2010 Oct;23(5):573-81. doi: 10.1002/jts.20557.

Multiple trauma and mental health in former Ugandan child soldiers.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Research Center Children for Tomorrow, University Medical Center Hamburg, Martinistrasse 52, Hamburg, Germany.


The present study examines the effect of war and domestic violence on the mental health of child soldiers in a sample consisting of 330 former Ugandan child soldiers (age: 11-17 years, female: 49%). All children had experienced at least 1 war-related event and 78% were additionally exposed to at least 1 incident of domestic violence. Prevalences of posttraumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder were 33%, and 36%, respectively. Behavioral and emotional problems above clinical cutoff were measured in 61%. No gender differences were found regarding mental health outcomes. War experience and domestic violence were significantly associated with all mental health outcomes. The authors' findings point to the detrimental effects of domestic violence in addition to traumatizing war experiences in child soldiers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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