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A Psychosocial Approach to Understand the Reintegration Process of Female Child Soldiers in Nepal

Bhattarai, Niharika (2012)
Master's Thesis (58 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Hennink, Monique
Committee Members:
Research Fields: Health Sciences, Public Health
Partnering Agencies: Emory University schools, faculty or affiliated programs
Keywords: child soldiers; female; Psychosocial; Nepal
Program: Rollins School of Public Health, Hubert Department of Global Health
Permanent url:


Psychosocial Approach to Understand the Reintegration Process of Female Child
Soldiers in Nepal

Background: There is limited research regarding the experience female child soldiers
endure and how it influences the reintegration process in Nepal. Past research on child
soldiers highlight the mental health issues that stem from their traumatic experiences of
and evisceration of social structures. Also, past studies regarding child soldiers used a
psychosocial approach to address the psychological and social problems child soldiers
Objectives: The purpose of the qualitative analysis was to examine how female child
soldiers' experiences influence the reintegration process to provide evidence based
psychosocial recommendations to improve their wellbeing.
Methods: We performed a secondary thematic analysis of 11 in-depth interviews with
former female child soldiers of the People's Liberation Army in Nepal.
Results: Several overarching themes emerged from the interviews, including how the
recruitment process, being a female in war, marriage, and education influenced the
female child soldier's reintegration process and ultimately their psychosocial wellbeing.
Female child soldiers stated the need for a new identity split from their child soldier
identity, and community support to ameliorate their reintegration into Nepalese society.
Conclusions: Female child soldiers in Nepal encounter psychological and social
problems as a consequence of their experience surrounding their time in the People's
Liberation Army (PLA), which influenced their reintegration process and ultimately their
psychosocial wellbeing. To ensure the psychosocial well-being, female child soldiers
expressed the need for community acceptance, delayed marriage and access to
educational and health services to ensure an optimal reintegration process .

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction 1

Nepal's Female Child Soldier 2
Research Questions 3
Study Purpose 3

Literature Review
Use of Children as Soldiers 5
Defining Child Soldiers 7
Female Child Soldiers 8
Psychosocial Research on Child Soldiers 9
Case Study of Psychosocial Support during the Reintegration

Process of Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone 11
Case Study of Psychosocial Support during the Reintegration
Process of Child Soldiers in Mozambique 12
Nepal's People War and Use of Child Soldiers 13

Study Design 17
Study Population 18
Data Collection 18
Data Analysis 20
Secondary Data Limitations 23

Experiences in the Pre-War Stage that Influence Reintegration 24
Experiences in the During War Stage that Influence Reintegration 27
Experiences in the Post War Stage that Influence Reintegration 29
Child's Soldiers Perceptions on How to Facilitate the Reintegration
Process 36

Discussion 38
Public Health Implications 44
Future Research 46
Study Limitations 46

Conclusion 47

References 48


application/pdf Dissertation/Thesis 58 pages (205.9 KB) [Access copy of Dissertation/Thesis]
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