Children born of War and Social Trust – Analysing Consequences of Rejection

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This article examines the question whether rejection experiences negatively relate to the social trust of Children Born of War (CBOW) and if this connection is mediated by sense of self-worth. CBOW is a group of people born out of relations during war- and post-war times, involving one parent being a foreign soldier, a para-military officer, rebel or other person directly participating in the hostilities, while the other parent is a member of the native population. Also children born to child soldiers and children fathered by members of a peacekeeping troop are included within this group. These children, due to their biological background, often grow up in a surrounding in which they are perceived as child of the enemy. The general hypothesis is that, due to their exposure to rejection experiences by their caregivers as well as by the society, CBOW are less likely to develop trust. It is further assumed that this relationship is mediated by the sense of self-worth. A structural equation model was applied to test the relation using a sample of Norwegian children born of war. Results indicate that CBOW who experience rejection share a lower sense of self-worth, which is further connected to lower trust, whereas no direct association between rejection experiences and trust was found.

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