More than the loss of a parent: potentially traumatic events among orphaned and abandoned children

J Trauma Stress. 2011 Apr;24(2):174-82. doi: 10.1002/jts.20625. Epub 2011 Mar 25.


This study examines rates of potentially traumatic events and associated anxiety and emotional/behavioral difficulties among 1,258 orphaned and abandoned children in 5 low- and middle-income countries. The study quantifies the types of events the children experienced and demonstrates that anxiety and emotional/behavioral difficulties increase with additional exposure. As policies for orphaned and abandoned children are being implemented, this study helps policy makers and care providers recognize that (a) children and caregivers are willing to report experiences of potentially traumatic events, (b) those who report such events are at higher risk for experiencing additional events, (c) resulting symptomatology indicates a need for appropriate mental health services, and (d) boys are as vulnerable as girls, indicating an equal need for protection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Abandoned / psychology*
  • Child, Orphaned / psychology*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment
  • Self Report