Professors Kristen Gray, Brigitte Hamon-Porter, Amy Otis-De Grau, Yolanda Vega and John Yelding
A child soldier’s life is ghastly and heartbreaking. Not only are these young boys and girls exposed to high levels of trauma due to the inherent atrocities of war, they are also subjected to devastating levels of abuse amounting to human enslavement. The purpose of our research was to explore this modern form of slavery and its manifestation in our world today. We focused on the adverse effects of trauma on child soldiers and how different organizations around the globe are trying to heal and improve the conditions of these children as they attempt to reintegrate back into society. Our preliminary findings prompted further research regarding the long-lasting effects the lifestyle of a child soldier has on its victims. We found a positive correlation between the number of traumatic events experienced and the severity of PTSD, psychological problems (such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation), physical complaints, and functional impairments. Our results also corroborate the effectiveness of proper reintegration programs. Most of our research was based on case studies done in the early 21st century in several African countries that use child soldiers.
Repository citation: Chavez, Danny; Markos, Alexander; and O'Connor, Esther, "What Do They Dream About?: The Long-lasting Effects of War and Trauma on Child Soldiers" (2014). 13th Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance (2014). Paper 45.
April 11, 2014. Copyright © 2014 Hope College, Holland, Michigan.