An Integrated Framework for Understanding Psychosocial Impact
This chapter provides a holistic understanding of the consequences of youth soldiering, recognizing the diversity within the category “child soldiers” and using young people's testimonies to show how youth understand their experiences and choices. Having put the definitions of “youth” and “child soldiers” in critical perspective, the chapter analyzes various pathways for a young person's entry into soldiering, recognizing the linkage between how one enters and the impact of soldiering itself. Additionally, it examines the varied roles and experiences of youth soldiers, connecting these with gender, the choices young people make while associated with an armed group and their evolving sense of meaning and identity. The chapter also examines the impact of youth soldiering by linking psychosocial wellbeing with health, cosmology, economics, and social roles and relations. It concludes with reflections on the implications of this holistic conceptualization for social reintegration and peacebuilding.
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