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Journalistic accounts in 1988 labeled Mozambique's child soldiers as "future barbarians." Our research suggests evidence to the contrary. The majority of former child soldiers we followed have become productive, capable, and caring adults. This article discusses the social, psychological, and economic lives of 40 adults who were abducted as children and used as child combatants. It is based on a longitudinal study that began when the boys were placed in a rehabilitation center and continued for 16 years after they were reintegrated into communities. It summarizes findings on their psychological status, with a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology, and presents further findings gained through ethnographic research on social, religious-spiritual, political, and economic factors that enabled or hindered reintegration and adaptation. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma

Publication Date





735 - 756