Author(s): Macksoud MS, Aber JL
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Abstract This study examines the number and types of war traumas children face growing up in a war-torn country and the relation of such traumatic experiences to their psychosocial development. A sample of 224 Lebanese children (10-16 years old) were interviewed using measures of war exposure, mental health symptoms, adaptational outcomes, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The number and type of children's war traumas varied meaningfully in number and type by their age, gender, father's occupational status, and mother's educational level. As predicted, the number of war traumas experienced by a child was positively related to PTSD symptoms; and various types of war traumas were differentially related to PTSD, mental health symptoms, and adaptational outcomes. For example, children who were exposed to multiple war traumas, were bereaved, became victims of violent acts, witnessed violent acts, and/or were exposed to shelling or combat exhibited more PTSD symptoms. Children who were separated from parents reported more depressive symptoms and children who experience bereavement and were not displaced reported more planful behavior. Lastly, children who were separated from parents and who witnessed violent acts reported more prosocial behavior. Implications for program interventions and directions for future research on the effects of war on the psychosocial development of children are explored.
This article was published in Child Dev
and referenced in Journal of Psychological Abnormalities