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When community reintegration is not the best option: interethnic violence and the trauma of parental loss in South Sudan

Muller, Brigitte, Munslow, Barry and O'Dempsey, Tim (2015) 'When community reintegration is not the best option: interethnic violence and the trauma of parental loss in South Sudan'. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management.

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Abstract

The magnitude of violence and human loss in conflict settings often exceeds the caring capacity of traditional support systems for orphans. The aim of this study is to understand the developmental context for children experiencing armed conflict, parental loss, extreme poverty, violence and social exclusion in a setting affected by interethnic violence. This article challenges the received wisdom that community reintegration is always better than institutional provision.

Using a case study employing interviews, focus groups, workshops and observations, we examined how children's experiences of armed violence and parental loss affected their mental well-being, and their relationships within their community. Emerging findings such as experienced violence and psychological distress were further investigated using a cross-sectional survey design to explore the generalisability or transferability of theories or conclusions drawn from qualitative data.

Findings showed that parental loss had a major impact on children's lives in the context of armed violence. Four main outcomes of orphanhood emerged: (i) facing the situation and evading harm (feelings of rejection and stigmatisation); (ii) trauma exposure and mental health effects (associations of orphanhood with adverse mental health outcomes and the number and type of experienced trauma); (iii) dealing with psychological distress (seeking caring connections and decreased feelings of isolation); and (iv) education and acceptance (increasing knowledge, skills and attitude and being respected in their community). We discuss the role that contexts such as armed violence, parental loss and social exclusion play for children's mental well-being and their implications for psychosocial interventions and orphan care in humanitarian settings.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 305 Mental health of special population groups
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 320 Child Welfare. Child Health Services.
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1002/hpm.2311
Depositing User: Jessica Jones
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2016 14:57
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:11
URI: http://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/5558

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