Psychological Impacts

Compared with the physical impacts, the psychological ones can be seen as a more severe problem which calls for professional psychologists which are scarce. In Uganda, there is only one psychiatrist for every 1.3 million people1.

Many child soldiers are kidnapped on their way to school or home, they often have memories of violent events like killing their peers or family members, which result to psychological damage2.

According to McMullen et al.3, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, loss of trust, excessive guilt, hostility and aggression can be counted among these mental disorders. As three studies revealed that, 34.9 percent4, 26.8 percent5 and 33 percent6 of Ugandan child soldiers had DSM-IV issue for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

See Physical Impacts

See Educational Impacts

See Impact on Society


1 Society for Research in Child Development. (2010, July 16). Studies explore effects of war on former child soldiers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from­/releases/2010/07/100715090640.htm

2 UNICEF. (2012). Retrived November 20, 2012, from

3 McMullen, J. D., O’Callaghan, P. S., Richards, J. A., Eakin, J. G., & Rafferty, H. (2011). Screening for traumatic exposure and psychological distress among war-affected adolescents in post-conflict northern Uganda. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 1-10.

4 Bayer, C. P., Klasen, F., & Adam, H. (2007). Association of trauma and PTSD symptoms with  openness to reconciliation and feelings of revenge among former Ugandan and Congolese child soldiers. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association298(5), 555-559.

5 Okello, J., Onen, T. S., & Misisi, S. (2008). Psychiatric disorders among war-abducted and non-                  abducted adolescents in Gulu district, Uganda: A comparative study. African journal of psychiatry10(4), 225-231.

6 Klasen, F., Oettingen, G., Daniels, J., Post, M., Hoyer, C., & Adam, H. (2010). Posttraumatic      resilience in former Ugandan child soldiers. Child development,81(4), 1096-1113.


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