A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Former Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Findings on Adult Mental Health & Social Functioning

December 4, 2018 (3 p.m. – 4 p.m.)


Child Development and Behavior Branch (CDBB), Division of Extramural Research (DER), NICHD


6710B Rockledge Drive, Room 1417, Bethesda, Maryland


Theresa S. Betancourt, Sc.D. , is the inaugural Salem Professor in Global Practice at the Boston College School of Social Work and Director of the Research Program on Children and Adversity. She oversees ongoing mental health services research projects in Sierra Leone, Rwanda. Dr. Betancourt is also engaged in community-based participatory research on family-based prevention of emotional and behavioral problems in refugee children and adolescents resettled in the United States. She has written on mental health and resilience in children facing adversity including articles in Child Development, Social Science and Medicine, JAMA Psychiatry, and BMJ Psychiatry and Pediatrics.

Dr. Betancourt will discuss a 15-year prospective study on Sierra Leone's former child soldiers—the Longitudinal Study of War-Affected Youth. The study evaluated anxiety/depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms, stigma, community acceptance, and family acceptance. The results indicate that former child soldiers have higher rates of mental health problems. In addition, the study suggests that post-conflict risk and protective factors may be related to outcomes that occur long after the conflict ends.

This presentation is part of the Advances in Child Development and Behavior Research Speaker Series, supported by the CDBB.

If you require a sign language interpreter and/or other reasonable accommodations, please contact Laureen Lee.


Laureen Lee, CDBB, DER, NICHD
Tel: (301) 496-5578
Email: laureen.lee@nih.gov 

Please note: Views expressed during NICHD-sponsored events do not necessarily reflect the opinions or the official positions of NICHD, NIH, or HHS.
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