Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Social Work

First Advisor

Andreas Rechkemmer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Yolanda Anyon, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Anamika Barman-Adhikari

Fourth Advisor

Alan Gilbert


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.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jordan Childress Farrar


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

274 p.


Social Work, Sub-Saharan Africa Studies, Social Research

Included in

Social Work Commons