Political violence, health and resilience
Sousa, Cindy A.
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In recent decades, there has been an expanded effort to examine the adverse effects of political violence on the health of civilian populations; substantial evidence now points to the effects of political violence on outcomes like PTSD, anxiety, and a variety of physical health symptoms. Despite the variety of risks inherent within political violence, we know individuals and communities actively cope with the stressors of political violence, exhibiting marked resilience as they function much better than might be expected. Individual and community resilience is generally defined as the successful recovery from or adaptation to stress or adversity through the use of individual or community characteristics, resources, strategies, and processes. While researchers have increasingly focused on political violence in the past few decades, several areas within the field of political violence and global health remain under-explored. To address these areas, this dissertation explores experiences inherent within political violence, their effects on health and well-being, and processes of resilience within the experience of political violence. Each paper within this dissertation sheds light on one shared question: How does political violence affect people's health and how do people and communities endure the stress and trauma it poses? The papers within this dissertation employ distinct guiding questions and associated research methods to: (1) provide an interdisciplinary overview of resilience to clarify what we currently know from scholarly literature about how individuals and communities weather the effects of political violence; (2) explore how political violence affects a variety of health outcomes (including general health, PTSD and distress) and examine how these health effects of political violence might differ along various sources of coping, ranging from self-reliance to use of support from one's family and from religious and political resources; and (3) examine how women describe the specific, particular experiences they endure within political violence and their strategies of resistance within that context.
- Social welfare