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Fatke, Matthias; Freitag, Markus (2019): Subtle social stressors of civil wars: Transformation of social networks and psychological distress in Sri Lanka. In: International Sociology, Vol. 34, No. 1: pp. 3-18
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Abstract

Civil wars entail many harmful consequences for the population beyond physical injuries and casualties. Although recent research has pointed out the importance of psychological distress, it must not be overlooked that not only immediate experiences from civil wars can cause such distress, but also the processes transforming social networks. In this article, the authors argue that wartime transformation is enduring even after the civil war has ended. It is precisely these social processes that are responsible for the psychological footprint on civilians. This claim is tested using original survey data collected in Sri Lanka, which has witnessed a devastating civil war. Results of the regression analysis indicate that social transformation processes are distinctly associated with increased war-related distress. Moreover, social transformation processes partly mediate the relationship between direct exposure to war and distress. These findings have important implications for our understanding of social interventions in the aftermath of civil wars.