Date of Award
Andreas Rechkemmer, Ph.D.
Ecological Systems Theory, Mixed Methodology, Phenomenology, Social Stress Theory, Social Support, War-Affected Youth
Despite global protections intended to protect children and hold governments and militarized groups accountable, contemporary discourse surrounding armed conflict recognizes the continued presence of children in war. While the knowledge base surrounding this issue is still in its infancy, some notable shifts have occurred regarding what we know about this group. Initial inquiry centered the individual and their trauma, which over time has expanded to consider the influence of the larger sociocultural context on one's recovery after war. In fact, research has begun to document the protective nature of community acceptance and support for children affected by armed conflict. To date, few studies have explicitly assessed how former child soldiers experience social support in their community post-conflict. Using a sequential explanatory mixed methods research design, this current study aimed to (a) advance knowledge regarding how former child soldiers experience social support in their community, (b) utilize quantitative and qualitative data to extend knowledge regarding informal and formal support mechanisms not easily captured by singular approaches, and (c) challenge researchers to consider and include the larger sociocultural context within any analysis regarding war-affected youth. Quantitative data analysis relied on the existing Survey of War Affected Youth and included 1,118 male and female youth who were abducted to fight by the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda. These data guided this study's qualitative inquiry of 20 former child soldiers currently living in Northern Uganda. While specific results related to the quantitative and qualitative approaches are provided in Chapter 4, given the mixed methods nature of this inquiry, results are also presented from a triangulation of both data streams. Triangulation of the data revealed the importance of the larger ecological context in understanding how war-affected youth experience social support. Through this contextual understanding, the data demand that researchers consider social support as an interconnected web, where disruptions (or opportunities) within the web can create a ripple effect of either advantage or disadvantage. This research concludes with implications and recommendations for researchers, service providers, policy makers, and social work as a profession as it continues to investigate war-affected youth and their communities.
Farrar, Jordan Childress, "Becoming Human Through the Communalization of Trauma and Healing: Experiences of Support Among Former Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1278.
Received from ProQuest
Jordan Childress Farrar
Social Work, Sub-Saharan Africa Studies, Social Research