It is estimated that approximately 300,000 children actively serve in various kinds of military groups around the world. Some of these children are forcibly conscripted through abduction or threats of violence to themselves or their families, others are coerced or manipulated into joining, and still others are more subtly compelled by circumstances that lead choosing to enlist to represent the lesser of the evils life has placed before them. No matter how they come to serve in war, however, child soldiers are exposed to, subjected to, and often forced to perpetrate horrors that meet or exceed our diagnostic criteria for trauma exposure.
This volume brings together leading investigators in the field to share new research regarding the traumatic impact of child soldiering from diverse international contexts, including Burundi, Colombia, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and—provocatively—among gang-involved youth in the United States. Contributions include data from longitudinal studies following former child soldiers into adulthood as well as investigations of the intergenerational impact of childhood conscription on former child combatants own children. In addition, research presented in this volume uncovers sources of resilience among these youth and details efforts to bring trauma-informed intervention and rehabilitation programs to these war-torn regions.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma.
Patricia K. Kerig, PhD received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, USA, and currently is a Professor and Director of Clinical Training at the University of Utah, USA. She is the author of numerous works dedicated to the developmental psychopathology of childhood and adolescent trauma.
Cecilia Wainryb, PhD received her doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, USA, and currently is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, USA. She is the author of numerous works dedicated to understanding moral development in children coping with interpersonal conflict.