The pains of paramilitarism: The latent criminogenic effects of exposure to paramilitary violence among young men in a post-conflict society

Colm Walsh, Twylla Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: Whilst most people who experience adversity recover, there is a cumulative body of evidence that illustrates that the effects can be long lasting, and can even become debilitating over time. Links have been made between traumatic distress, mental health disorders and disturbances in behavioural and emotional regulatory systems that may in context elevate the risk of offending. Despite the burgeoning evidence around the criminogenic effects of adversity, few studies have examined the traumatic effects of paramilitary related adversity in the context of post-conflict Northern Ireland. Methods: With reference to DSM-V PTSD diagnostic clusters, the aim of this study was to explore the latent impact of adversity and latent trauma among justice involved young men and identify potential criminogenic effects of exposure to paramilitary related adversity. Results and conclusions: This study found that across the sample, young men had self-reported to have experienced significant adversity, including violent victimisation. Exposure to paramilitary adversity often began during early adolescence. The participants described symptoms that were consistent with clinically diagnosable disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Despite this, there appears to be a paucity of trauma screening and assessment, and few supports that victim could benefit from. In the absence of appropriate and evidence-based supports, many young men appear to find other (and more maladaptive) ways to cope. This exacerbates the risk of interfacing with the justice system and may even contribute towards a deterioration in wider psycho-social outcomes. Implications for practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-558
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child & Adolescent Trauma
Volume16
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Paramilitarism
  • PTSD
  • Trauma
  • Violence

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The pains of paramilitarism: The latent criminogenic effects of exposure to paramilitary violence among young men in a post-conflict society'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this