Protective and risk factors of psychosocial wellbeing related to the reintegration of former child soldiers in Nepal

This paper explores protective and risk factors for mental health and psychosocial wellbeing among 300 child solders (verified minors) through a longitudinal study. Both the Hopkins Symptoms Check list and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (civilian version) were used to measure mental health problems, while the Generalised Estimating Equation was used to identify both the protective and risk factors over time. Anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder decreased over a nine month period, while depression prevalence did not change. Social support, inter-caste marriage, low caste and residence in far western geographic regions were all associated with greater mental health problems. Rehabilitation packages were not associated with improved mental health, and former child solders enrolled in vocational programmes had greater posttraumatic stress disorder symptom severity. The findings suggest that strong social support is needed, as rehabilitation packages alone may be insufficient to improve mental health.

Adhikari, Ramesh Prasad; Kohrt, Brandon A.; Luitel, Nagendra Prasad; Upadhaya, Nawaraj; Gurung, Dristy; Jordans, Mark J.D.