Abstract: Armed conflicts have caused extreme social crises worldwide, where children represent the most vulnerable group, often experiencing severe trauma and violence in war zones. Globally, one in four children lives in a country affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters, or epidemics. This study aims to provide an overview of research on the psychological impact of armed conflicts on children, including the types of mental disorders that result after war trauma and interventions to minimize psychological damage after exposure to war and conflict. The research was based on a systematic review of the literature, using the Elsevier, Google Scholar, and PubMed databases. Key terms used in the research include: war and mental health or armed conflict, children or refugees and trauma or exposure to war trauma; and post-traumatic stress disorder. Children’s continued exposure to war trauma is associated with mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, dissociative disorders, depersonalization, derealization, numbing, catatonia, and behavior disorders, especially aggression and violent criminal behavior. Based on the studies used, the results show that the crises caused in children by wars has significant effects on mental health, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, sleep disorders, and suicidal thoughts. The cited studies recommend increasing human resources for the identification, diagnosis, rehabilitation, and psychosocial support of children who are evacuated from war zones to other countries.
Keywords: armed conflict, children, mental health, exposure to war trauma, positive psychotherapy