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Bogdan Voicu and Ingvill C. Mochmann

Abstract

This paper considers two assumptions commonly used in analyzing the formation of social trust. They stress the importance of early socialization, on one hand, and of life events, on the other. We consider birth as a major life event for anyone and focus on the situation of Children Born of War. This group, even if lesser visible in some societies, has the peculiar characteristic to be born and socialized in very specific conditions. Typically, these people are the offspring of foreign soldiers, and local women. They may bear stigma, might be marginalized in family, school and society, and might develop a low level of generalized trust even if they may have lived all life in a culture rich in social trust. We explore at theoretical level their case, bring in a few statistics, and suggest a research direction that may be fruitful in learning about both such hidden populations and about social trust. In the end, we argue upon the importance of the topic for post-conflict societies.

Open access

Andrea Meckel, Ingvill C. Mochmann, Bogdan Voicu and Martin Miertsch

Abstract

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.