Abstract

Zaid Tabaza

Undergoing a war experience leaves numerous adverse marks on a society, interacting with different aspects of human life, including physical health, education, workforce, destruction of infrastructure, as well as the psychological harm caused to people. In a war environment, children are denied of rudimentary necessities, such as feelings of safety and protection, empathy, a proper education, and a warm, loving community. Such deprivation leads to the hindrance of the psychological development of children. Therefore, amongst different age groups, children tend to be more prone to psychological damage from long-term violence. This paper examines such effects through a comparison-group study between a controlled sample of refugee and non-refugee children aged 9-17 years old. Subjects of the study were administered to a questionnaire that is subdivided into 3 sections, each exploring an aspect of either tendency towards aggression, perception of the current world and aspirations for the future, or attitude towards thinking. The study was hypothesized to indicate that refugee children exhibit higher tendencies to violence, a more pessimistic outlook on the world, limited hope for the future, and more negative thinking as opposed to non-refugee children. Data obtained primarily supports the hypothesis, showing that there are notable variations between both groups in terms of the propensity to be violent, the children’s view of the world and their hope for the future, as well as slighter differences with regards to the degree to which they are negative thinkers. Alongside this, other observations associated with the children’s ability to comprehend and complete the task were noted.

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