Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Former Child Soldiers Of Nepal At Increased Risk For Range Of Mental Health Problems

Date:
August 12, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
In Nepal, former child soldiers display greater severity of mental health problems, such as symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression, compared with children who were not forced into military service, according to a study in the August 13 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

In Nepal, former child soldiers display greater severity of mental health problems, such as symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, compared with children who were not forced into military service, according to a new study.

Related Articles


Armed groups throughout the world continue to exploit children to wage war, according to background information in the article. Former child soldiers are considered in need of special mental health interventions. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the mental health of child soldiers compared with civilian children in armed conflicts.

Brandon A. Kohrt, M.A., of Emory University, Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a study to determine if former child soldiers have more mental health problems than never-conscripted (compulsorily enrolled into military service) children. The study, conducted in March and April 2007 in Nepal, compared the mental health of 141 former child soldiers and 141 never conscripted children matched on age, sex, education, and ethnicity. Participants were an average of 15.75 years old at the time of the study, and former child soldiers ranged in age from 5 to 16 years at the time of conscription. All participants experienced at least 1 type of trauma.

The researchers found that the numbers of child soldiers meeting symptom cutoff scores on various measures and scales were 75 (53.2 percent) for depression, 65 (46.1 percent) for anxiety, 78 (55.3 percent) for PTSD, 55 (39.0 percent) for general psychological difficulties, and 88 (62.4 percent) for function impairment. After adjusting for traumatic exposures and other variables, soldier status was significantly associated with depression (2.4 times higher odds) and PTSD among girls (6.8 times higher odds), and PTSD among boys (3.8 times higher odds), but was not associated with general psychological difficulties, anxiety, or function impairment.

"The difference in mental health outcomes between child soldiers and never-conscripted children can be explained in part by greater exposure to traumatic events among child soldiers, especially for general psychological difficulties and function impairment," the authors write.

"The study has several clinical and programmatic implications. First, the greater burden of mental health problems among former child soldiers supports the need for focused programming, which should include, but not consist solely of, interventions to reduce depression symptoms and the psychological sequelae of trauma, especially bombings and torture, as well as incorporate belongingness and income generation. Second, girl soldiers may require focused attention, possibly for factors not addressed in this study, such as problems of sexual violence and reintegration difficulties. Third, the variation in type and severity of mental health problems highlights the importance of screening, including locally developed measures of function impairment, as a base for intervention."

"Without screening there is a risk of pathologizing child soldiers as a group rather than providing support to those individuals most impaired. Finally, the presence of mental health problems among never-conscripted children illustrates the need for comprehensive postconflict community-based psychosocial care not restricted only to child soldiers," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kohrt et al. Comparison of Mental Health Between Former Child Soldiers and Children Never Conscripted by Armed Groups in Nepal. JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2008; 300 (6): 691 DOI: 10.1001/jama.300.6.691

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Former Child Soldiers Of Nepal At Increased Risk For Range Of Mental Health Problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812160611.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, August 12). Former Child Soldiers Of Nepal At Increased Risk For Range Of Mental Health Problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812160611.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Former Child Soldiers Of Nepal At Increased Risk For Range Of Mental Health Problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812160611.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins