The mental health affects of war on child soldiers
A recent study set its focus on the mental health affects of war on child soldiers. The findings coincided with the obvious assumptions that one would be likely to have, that these children suffer severe problems with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and general psychological difficulties. The study’s findings, provided by researcher Brandon A. Kohrt of Emory University, Atlanta, and colleagues, were published in the August 13 issue of JAMA. Although one might expect child soldiers to suffer from mental health problems, the study brings timely attention to this international epidemic. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medical News Today that reviews the study:
Kohrt and colleagues found that 75 of the child soldiers (52.3%) met the symptom cutoff score for depression, 65 (46.1%) met the score for anxiety, 78 (55.3%) met the criteria for PTSD, 55 (39%) met the criteria for general psychological difficulties, and 88 (62.4%) were functionally impaired. Statistically adjusting for traumatic exposures and other possibly confounding variables held that being a child soldier was significantly associated with depression and PTSD among girls (2.4 and 6.8 times higher odds, respectively) and PTSD among boys (3.8 times higher odds). However, there was no statistical association between being a child soldier and general psychological difficulties, anxiety, or function impairment.