America's child soldiers: Toward a research agenda for studying gang-involved youth in the united states


Journal Article

This article examines ways in which international research on child soldiers might serve to inform research on gang-involved youth in the United States. In particular, we discuss the importance of understanding trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress reactions as both risks for and consequences of participation in both forms of armed groups. In addition, we point to the value of expanding our view of trauma to include dimensions that have yielded important insights in the study of child soldiers, including developmental trauma disorder, perpetration-induced trauma, and the unique sequelae of sexual victimization for girls. The roles of ethnic pride and ideology, moral agency, and the processes that promote desistance and reintegration of former child soldiers and gang members are discussed. Finally, we suggest that future research on children in armed groups should give consideration not only to psychological constructs like resilience and post-traumatic growth, but to social forces that can promote prosocial behavior. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kerig, PK; Wainryb, C; Twali, MS; Chaplo, SD

Published Date

  • August 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 773 - 795

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-083X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1092-6771

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/10926771.2013.813883

Citation Source

  • Scopus