Psychosocial Adaptability of Conflict-exposed Adolescents in Ukraine
Sustainable Development Goals: 4, 5, 16
- SDG 4 - Quality Education
- SDG 5 - Gender Equality
- SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
An evidence-based analysis of the psychosocial adaptability of conflict-exposed adolescents and the role of the education system as a protective environment
This report examines the impact of the Ukrainian conflict on an adolescent’s psychology. By surveying 3331 adolescents, 48% of whom were male while 50% were female, UNICEF was able to identify certain indicators that informed their conclusion on the adolescents’ mental health. The study has found that the exposure to conflict at a developmental age has impaired adolescent development, increasing the risk of drug abuse and aggression. It has also contributed to increased cases of depression and anxiety. On top of reducing conflict, UNICEF argues that adolescents must become more resilient in the face of conflict. The researchers have found that building resilience into academic programs has helped improve adolescent mental well-being. This can be achieved by fostering healthy relations and support from teachers and peers while maintaining a strong emotional connection to the school. In addition, a healthy connectedness to family is correlated to healthy emotional connections to family. However, connectedness can be compromised as a result of bullying, which is related to the abuse some children face at home. On the other hand, the researchers compared and contrasted the mental wellbeing of both male and female adolescents. To take into account the differences in psyche between both genders, UNICEF proposes that schools implement more gender sensitive programs to fulfill the needs of all students.