In 1984, Dante Cicchetti published “The Emergence of Developmental Psychopathology,” an article in which he argued that the previously amorphous study of developmental psychopathology was emerging as a unified discipline. According to Cicchetti, developmental psychopathology describes an interdisciplinary field that studies abnormalities in psychological function that can arise during human development. Such studies include research about the effects that traumatic experiences may have on the development of psychological disorders and about what behaviors are considered normal or abnormal at different ages. In the article, Cicchetti reports about the origins of developmental psychopathology, why it emerged as its own discipline, and why researchers should study it. In addition to recognizing the field of developmental psychopathology, the article informed later research about preventing and treating the harmful psychological effects of early traumatic events.

In 2012 Ann S. Masten and Angela J. Narayan published the article “Child Development in the Context of Disaster, War, and Terrorism: Pathways of Risk and Resilience” in Annual Reviews in Psychology. The authors conducted their study at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the article, Masten and Narayan review a number of articles to examine and compile the research made since the twenty-first century on the psychological impact of mass trauma, such as war, terrorism, and disasters, on children. The goal was not only to highlight all current research but also delineate any patterns and inconsistencies between the works, and present the utility of that research. Masten and Narayan found that as of 2011, there is a scarcity of research on long-term studies guiding practices to mitigate distress in children before and after disasters beginning as early as prenatal development.

In 2010, Theresa S. Betancourt, Robert T. Brennan, Julia Rubin-Smith, Garrett M. Fitzmaurice, and Stephen E. Gliman, published “Sierra Leone’s Former Child Soldiers: A Longitudinal Study of Risk, Protective Factors, and Mental Health” in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The paper describes the results of a longitudinal study of former Sierra Leone child soldiers that examines how protective and risk factors affect children’s post-conflict mental health outcomes over several years of development. Researchers from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, conducted the study in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and the Post-Conflict Reintegration Initiative for Development and Empowerment in Sierra Leone. The study investigated processes that affected the development of 260 former child soldiers at three points in time post-conflict. The authors found that besides war experience, post-conflict factors such as discrimination and community acceptance contribute to the mental health of former child soldiers. Their results have helped intervention programs focus on post-conflict factors to heal children from the harmful effects of war.

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