Interventions for Children Affected by Armed Conflict: a Systematic Review of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Peer-reviewed article
(2016 Jan) Curr Psychiatry Rep, 18 9


Jordans MJ, Pigott H, Tol WA


Over one billion children under the age of 18 live in countries affected by armed conflict. This systematic review replicates an earlier study, aiming to provide a comprehensive update of the most current developments in interventions for children affected by armed conflict. For the period 2009-2015, a total of 1538 records were collected from PubMed, PsycINFO, and PILOTS. Twenty-four studies met the inclusion criteria, and the included interventions involve data from 4858 children. Although the number of publications and level of evidence has improved since the previous review, there is still a general lack of rigor and clarity in study design and reported results. Overall, interventions appeared to show promising results demonstrating mostly moderate effect sizes on mental health and psychosocial well-being. However, these positive intervention benefits are often limited to specific subgroups. There is a need for increased diversification in research focus, with more attention to interventions that focus at strengthening community and family support, and to young children, and improvements in targeting and conceptualizing of interventions.