Social ecology of child soldiers: Child, family, and community determinants of mental health, psychosocial wellbeing, and reintegration in Nepal

Kohrt, B.A., Jordans, M.J.D., Tol, W.A., Perrera, E., Karki, R., Koirala, S. & Upadhaya, N.

Transcultural Psychiatry

Published on: November 18, 2010

Abstract: This study employed a social ecology framework to evaluate psychosocial well-being in a cross-sectional sample of 142 former child soldiers in Nepal. Outcome measures included the Depression Self Rating Scale (DSRS), Child Post traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale (CPSS), and locally developed measures of functional impairment and reintegration. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine the contribution of factors at multiple levels. At the child level, traumatic exposures, especially torture, predicted poor outcomes, while education improved outcomes. At the family level, conflict-related death of a relative, physical abuse in the household, and loss of wealth during the conflict predicted poor outcomes. At the community level, living in high caste Hindu communities predicted lack of reintegration supports. Ultimately, social ecology is well suited to identify intervention foci across ecological levels based on community differences in vulnerability and protective factors.

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