Posttraumatic resilience in former Ugandan child soldiers

Fionna Klasen, Gabriele Oettingen, Judith Daniels, Manuela Post, Catrin Hoyer, Hubertus Adam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present research examines posttraumatic resilience in extremely exposed children and adolescents based on interviews with 330 former Ugandan child soldiers (age = 11-17, female = 48.5%). Despite severe trauma exposure, 27.6% showed posttraumatic resilience as indicated by the absence of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and clinically significant behavioral and emotional problems. Among these former child soldiers, posttraumatic resilience was associated with lower exposure to domestic violence, lower guilt cognitions, less motivation to seek revenge, better socioeconomic situation in the family, and more perceived spiritual support. Among the youth with significant psychopathology, many of them had symptoms extending beyond the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, in keeping with the emerging concept of developmental trauma disorder. Implications for future research, intervention, and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1096-1113
Number of pages18
JournalChild development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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