Psychosocial adjustment and mental health in former child soldiers: systematic review of the literature and recommendations for future research

 

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Research on the social reintegration and psychosocial adjustment of former child soldiers is emerging and is beginning to document psychosocial adjustment, mental health, and social reintegration in former child soldiers across a range of settings and cultures.

This research demonstrates that children often experience mental health problems following their association with fighting forces, especially if they have been exposed to toxic forms of violence and return to limited family and peer supports as well as community stigma and limited educational and economic opportunities.  Some mental health problems may plague children for years, particularly if exacerbated by such postconflict factors. This article reviews the available quantitative research on psychosocial adjustment and mental health among children (age <18 years) associated with armed forces and armed groups (CAAFAG) – commonly referred to as child soldiers.

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