Children and Political Violence from a Social Ecological Perspective: Implications from Research on Children and Families in Northern Ireland
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The effects on children of political violence are matters of international concern, with many negative effects well-documented. At the same time, relations between war, terrorism, or other forms of political violence and child development do not occur in a vacuum. The impact can be understood as related to changes in the communities, families and other social contexts in which children live, and in the psychological processes engaged by these social ecologies. To advance this process-oriented perspective, a social ecological model for the effects of political violence on children is advanced. This approach is illustrated by findings and methods from an ongoing research project on political violence and children in Northern Ireland. Aims of this project include both greater insight into this particular context for political violence and the provision of a template for study of the impact of children’s exposure to violence in other regions of the world. Accordingly, the applicability of this approach is considered for other social contexts, including (a) another area in the world with histories of political violence and (b) a context of community violence in the US.