[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 5, 1992

Children and ChildhoodsHidden Casualties of War and Civil Unrest

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass (Dr Schaller), and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Washington, DC (Dr Nightingale).

JAMA. 1992;268(5):642-644. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490050090033

We have grown accustomed to wars and to measuring the casualties of wars as body counts of soldiers or tabulations of strategic buildings, military installations, or targets that have been destroyed. But there are other hidden casualties that are rarely considered: children and childhoods.

Articles in recent editions of THE JOURNAL and American Medical Association (AMA) specialty journals document the threats of domestic and societal violence to children growing up in "peaceful" countries such as the United States.1-4 A number of articles in this issue of The JOURNAL consider another form of violence—war.

The consequences of war have changed since World War I, when the estimated number of civilians killed by direct warfare ranged from 5% to 19%.5-9 By World War II, estimations of the proportion of civilians killed during war had risen to 48% to 50%.5-9 In the more than 150 declared and undeclared wars since