Violence, trauma, and flight: drivers, consequences and prevention approaches for war-affected children and their families
Millions of people around the world are affected by war and displacement. People who experience war and violence have an increased risk for mental health problems. Though the number of studies on refugee children has increased in recent years, studies that examine the consequences of war, flight, and trauma from a family perspective, considering intra-family dynamics, are very rare. In his talk, Tobias Hecker will address the consequences of war, flight, and trauma from a family perspective. Based on studies in conflict settings, he will focus on the link between parental and child mental health, also considering potential family mediators, such as family violence or relationship quality. He will also present results on consequences of traumatic experiences beyond the direct mental health impairments, such as the cognitive development of the affected children or the willingness of displaced persons to return to their place of origin. He will provide an insight into a series of ongoing projects examine the impact of mental health interventions on intergenerational mental health, social, and economic outcomes.
Prof. Dr. Tobias Hecker is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Violence Research at the Department of Psychology and Deputy Scientific Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at Bielefeld University. He has a strong scholarly record of funding (>5 million Euro in the past 5 years) and publications (100+ in the past 10 years) in mental health and violence research with emphasis on violence against children, trauma and migration. Here, the funding within the Emmy-Noether Program of the German Research Foundation stands out. His research focuses on developmental psychopathology and combines the clinical with the developmental psychology perspective. Specifically, his work examined the drivers and consequences of war, violence, migration, and maltreatment in childhood, as well as the prevention and intervention efforts of violence and the resulting psychological consequences. He is the editorial board member of the Journal of Traumatic Stress and of Psychology of Violence.