Background: Multiple wars across the globe in the 20th century have affected countless children. One of these wars was the Croatian War of Independence or Homeland War, which lasted from 1991-1995. This systematic review examined the psychological and behavioral impact of war on children in Croatia in order to inform intervention with these children as adults, as well as to inform the literature on the effects of war on children more broadly. Methods: An integrative systematic review was conducted with qualitative and quantitative studies using narrative synthesis to review and integrate the findings from multiple studies. Studies eligible for inclusion were published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Date and language restrictions were applied to the searches. Studies had to have a publication date between 1991-2021 in order to be eligible for inclusion. English and Croatian language studies were eligible for inclusion. Results: In total, 21 studies were included in the qualitative synthesis and quantitative descriptive summaries. Almost all studies in this review included at least one variable related to either psychological or behavioral effects of war on children’s mental health. Only one study included children between 0-6 years of age. This review shows inconsistent findings regarding the effects of gender. A majority of studies found that those children with higher eyewitness exposure to war violence exhibited greater internalizing and externalizing problems. Conclusions: The findings of this research highlight the need for further research considering the correlation between parental and child psychopathology, as well as family environment and family functioning during political violence.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Children and war—Croatia; Child mental health; Child psychopathology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Shelly P. Harrell

Included in

Psychology Commons