Online Program

Psychosocial health of adolescent participants in a World Vision community-based intervention after experiencing prolonged conflict and natural disasters in Sri Lanka

Monday, November 2, 2015

Christine Fu, PhD, International Programs, World Vision US, Washington, DC
Background: As a result of armed conflict, in the past ten years, over 2 million children have been killed, 20 million are homeless and more than 1 million have become separated from their caregivers.  In spite of the known detrimental effects associated with exposure to stressful events, interventions targeting the psychosocial health of these children and adolescents are limited. Between 1999 and 2014, World Vision implemented child development and protection activities to improve the psychosocial health of children and adolescents affected by the prolonged civil war and 2004 Asian tsunami.  Children’s clubs were created to foster inter-ethnic and religious relationships between Muslim, Hindu and Christian children and adolescents.  This presentation offers findings from a study of the impact of club activities on children's hope, social support and resilience. 

Method:  216 adolescents, ages 12-18 years, were interviewed. Hope was assesed using the Children’s Hope Scale. The Youth version of the Child and Youth Resilience Measure was used to assess resources (individual, relational, communal and cultural) available to youth that enhance resilience.  Seven social support items were drawn from Oxford University’s Young Lives Study.

Findings: The average score on the Children’s Hope Scale was 19.99 (SD= 3.55). Social support findings: the majority of adolescents reported they had someone who could help them with a religious matter, their studies, problems at home and school and when they needed money.  The average score on the Resilience Scale was 121.68 (SD= 14.49).  Adolescents who participated in a higher number of intervention activities, and attended a Child Club meeting had higher scores hope and resilience scores. 

Implications: Addressing the psychosocial support needs of children and adolescent survivors of disasters is critical.  Further research into the efficacy of mental health and psychosocial support programs among children and adolescents in disaster settings is urgently needed. 


1 Muller, R.T. (2013). The invisible trauma of war-affected children. The Trauma & Mental Health Report.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe World Vision’s community-based approach to providing psychosocial support to children and adolescents exposed to a disaster. Explain the multidimensional aspects of psychosocial health in adolescents and list different instruments that may be applicable among this population. Compare and contrast World Vision’s community-based approach to psychosocial support to other psychosocial support interventions conducted after a disaster.

Keyword(s): Disasters, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content I am responsible because I conducted the research, analysis and reporting of data findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
World Vision Program evaluation Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.