Previous research has identified strong associations between war experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Few studies, however, have explored the underlying mechanisms of these associations in an integrated model. This study explored whether feelings of anger, shame, and guilt mediated the effects of war experiences and PTSD and if this association is heightened in former child soldiers from Northern Uganda. Nearly 40% of the sample were former child soldiers (N = 122), and 189 were civilians. A total of 35.5% met the proposed ICD-11 criteria for PTSD. Findings indicated previous war experiences were directly associated with PTSD. Anger and guilt were significant mediators of this effect, child soldier status did not moderate the mediated effects. This study provides an alternative framework of assessing the association between trauma and PTSD using a sample of young adults exposed to mass conflict.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Former child soldiers
- Moderated mediation