The Impact of Abduction and Soldiering on Children

Project Date:
Dec 2005
Award Amount:
$5,000
Project Programs:
Behavioral Economics

Christopher Blattman assesses the social, economic, and psychological impacts of abduction and soldiering on children.

Objective:

To assess the social, economic, and psychological impacts of abduction and soldiering on children. In particular, Blattman seeks to understand the relationship between psychological problems arising from war trauma and their later-life economic outcomes and behavior, as well as the determinants of successful reintegration.

The dominant view holds that these youth are traumatized, violent, social pariahs. Blattman’s results challenge some of the conventional assumptions about ex-combatants.

Key Findings:

  • Abductees exhibit little difference in aggression, and ex-soldiers are found to be socially and psychologically resilient.
  • Community acceptance of former abductees is high, and they report similar levels of social support as do non-abductees.
  • Psychological distress is evident among those exposed to severe war violence but is not limited to ex-combatants.
  • Economic and educational impacts are widespread and persistent: schooling falls by nearly a year, skilled employment halves, and earnings drop by a third.

Additional Resources

The Russell Sage Foundation
Journal of the Social Sciences

The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.

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