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Stories of pre-war, war and exile: Bosnian refugee children in Sweden.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Medicine, conflict, and survival
Publication Date
Volume
17
Issue
1
Pages
25–47
Identifiers
PMID: 11339342
Source
Medline

Abstract

While standardized questionnaires produce counts of isolated events, a semi-structured interview derives a story, a complex narrative in time and place. Ninety Bosnian refugee children and adolescents (ages 1-20), resettled in Sweden, were assessed in a semi-structured clinical interview designed to identify and offer support to children at risk. A family-child account of traumatic exposure was analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Type-stories or clusters of experience were identified for three distinct periods: prior to war, during war, and after war in exile. The extent of trauma-stress exposure during each of these periods proved unrelated. Pre-war experience presented as preponderantly good and safe. Differences in child exposure during war and exile could be understood in relation to identifiable socio-demographic factors; particularly ethnic background, social class, child age and family size. Further, the stories derived cast light on the equity of Swedish refugee reception, exposing both egalitarian and discriminatory tendencies.

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