Psychological Distress in Young Adults Exposed to War-Related Trauma in Childhood

Maria M. Llabre, Fawzyiah Hadi, Annette M. La Greca, Betty S. Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We tested a conceptual model of the effect of war-trauma exposure in childhood on psychological distress in young adulthood. Participants included 151 urban Kuwaiti children (51% female; M age = 10.62 years) exposed to the 1990–1991 Gulf crisis (assessed in 1993); participants also included 140 parents (81% female; M age mothers = 36.50 years; M age fathers = 41 years). In 2003, 120 participants were reassessed as young adults (50% female; M age = 21.19 years). The conceptual model was evaluated with structural equations. War-trauma exposure was associated with psychological distress in children and parents, but parents reported larger effects than children. Parents’ psychological distress did not contribute to children's psychological distress. Children's psychological distress did not dissipate over time. Social support may function as a potential mediator of the effect of war-trauma exposure on psychological distress. Findings support the importance of early detection and treatment of children exposed to war trauma. Findings also implicate social support as a factor to consider in clinical interventions for children exposed to war trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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