Starting in March 2019, a team of researchers probed the psychological implications of children exposed to the tragic conflicts of the Syrian war in Damascus.
Close to ten years of civil unrest and military conflicts have resulted in the exposure of extremely traumatic events for children residing in the region, complications that continue to haunt them to this day, according to new research in Psychological Medicine.
Although the Syrian war has been fought on the battleground in the nation’s capital, and in cyberspace, through the direction of sophisticated groups like the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), boots on the ground has resulted in the highest levels of tragedy for Syrian students of all ages.
In the study, a research group examined more than 1,300 students in grade school who resided and attended a local institution during the war in Damascus. Questionnaires were administered to get a clearer scope as to the psychological complications the children had experienced.
The evaluation of the Syrian children led to the conclusion that many are still living with high-levels of post-traumatic stress disorder and problematic anger as a result of the civil and military conflicts. Girls were more likely to report mental adversities as opposed to young male students, the study determined.
“The critically high prevalence of PTSD and problematic anger shocked me. We are talking about young people who are 18 and under and who should be healthy,” Ameer Kakaje, co-author of the study, affirmed in the findings.
“But these high numbers are just a glimpse of what is going on in the Syrian community and how much they are mentally suffering without any means of dealing with it.”
“When screening for problematic anger, there was no difference between genders, which could indicate that due to gender stigma, boys might have underestimated their symptoms when they filled in the self-reporting scales,” Kakaje also stated.
“As anger is not stigmatised, they were free to declare their problems and thus both genders might have been severely affected. This may also mean that both genders may suffer mentally, but boys might have not expressed these feelings in ways other than through anger.”
The region in Syria of central focus throughout the war was once heavily occupied by U.S. troops, a coalition of military forces who are purportedly currently the subject of a United Nations probe for alleged crimes against humanity.