Ethics. Research. Community.

The psychosocial impact of armed conflict on children. Rethinking traditional paradigms in research and intervention.

Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
It is undeniable that the impact of war on children is a significant issue that merits continued efforts in research and intervention. It is time for a shift in paradigms; instead of focusing solely on exposure to traumatic events and defining pathology per dominant diagnostic criteria, it is essential that research turn to examining the effect of chronic stressors and exploring how certain mechanisms may be protective or act to moderate the psychosocial impact of war on children. The role of such protective mechanisms must be examined for differences by development and gender and by cultural context and the nature of the conflict situation itself. Investigations of the health and psychosocial well-being of war-affected children and the programs that serve them must attend to the restoration of basic physiologic needs, safety, structure, familial ties, and other sources of support and integration of cultural practices of healing. The coping efforts of young people and their families and the creation of more positive roles for youth also must be explored. Addressing these fundamental issues in research and programming will go a long way in fostering new opportunities for peace, healing, and the promotion of mental health and well-being for war-affected children in modern times.
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