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Saturday, 15 July, 2000, 23:59 GMT 00:59 UK
War children may have 'problems'

Thousands of children were evacuated during the war
People who were evacuated as children during World War II are likely to experience emotional problems, a study has found.

Research carried out by University College London found that many children who had been evacuated had difficulty maintaining relationships and suffered from depression and anxiety.

Researcher Diane Foster questioned 169 former evacuees and 43 people from the same generation who had not been evacuated.

War-time evacuation is continuing to have an effect on the lives of some people

Diane Foster, UCL

She found that the former evacuees were more likely to have had emotional and psychological problems.

This was true even of children with good parents - a group normally expected to have fewer relationship problems in later life, she said.

Separation from parents was found to be an important reason for the child's problems later in life.

However, some of those questioned said they had suffered abuse or had experienced bombing.

The study also found that the younger the children had been when they were evacuated, the more likely they were to experience problems later in life.

Continuing effect

Ms Foster described the findings as tentative.

"These findings have to be tentative because so many other things have happened to these people over the past 60 years.

"Nevertheless, it does seem that war-time evacuation is continuing to have an effect on the lives of some people."

A spokesperson for the Trust for the Study of Adolescents said individuals react differently to traumatic events.

"Whether a person has emotional or psychological problems or whether something has a traumatic effect depends on the individual and their own perspective."

The study was presented to a British Psychological Society conference in Birmingham.

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