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Final Published Version

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Human (in)security and psychological well-being in Palestinian children living amidst military violence: A qualitative participatory research using interactive maps

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Research has widely evidenced the effects of war and political violence on the functioning of children, with a great accord in diagnosing children's psychological burdens related to their exposure to violence. Yet, within this literature, the influence of the chronic sense of insecurity on their psychological functioning during and after hostilities remains unexplored.


The present study aimed at exploring interrelated relationships between the perceived insecurity and the children's psychological well-being and their adjustment to trauma. Based on drawings and walk-along interviews with 75 Palestinian children, residents of both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, we offer an analysis of human security-related risks and protective factors that contribute to either promoting or undermining the child's psychological functioning in a context characterized by chronic instability and political violence.


A complex network of sources of security and insecurity emerged from the narratives depicting an ecological portrait encompassing the determinants of children's mental health and psychological functioning. The TCA led to the identification of eight main themes: school and associativism; social relations and house as a source of security/insecurity; military occupation as a source of insecurity; national and political identity as a source of safety; mosque and spirituality as a source of safety/unsafety; environment as a source of security/insecurity; and mental health.


An approach encompassing human security as an explicative model can help in exhaustively portraying the complexity of the Palestinian children's suffering and their competence in adjusting to their traumatic reality. The study draws attention to social, political, environmental and economic determinants of children psychological well-being.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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