War Experiences and War-related Distress in Bosnia and Herzegovina Eight Years after War

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Ringdal, Kristen; Gerd Inger Ringdal & Albert Simkus (2008) War Experiences and War-related Distress in Bosnia and Herzegovina Eight Years after War, Croatian Medical Journal 49(1): 75–86.


To examine the relationship between war experiences and war-related distress in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The survey was performed in the late 2003 on a representative sample of 3313 respondents. The face-to-face interviews included 15 items on war-related distress and 24 items on war experiences. From these items we developed the War-related Distress Scale, the Direct War Experiences Scale, and the Indirect War Experiences Scale. Regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between war-related distress symptoms and war experiences variables, controlling for a range of other variables.


Almost half of the respondents did not report any war-related distress symptoms, while about 13% reported 7 or more symptoms. Direct war experiences had a significant effect on war-related distress even eight years after the war, while indirect war experiences showed no significant effect on war-related distress. We found that marital status weakly decreased war-related distress, while household size increased it.


Direct war experiences seem to have a long-lasting traumatic effect on a substantial number of residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Read the article here (Open Access)


Kristen Ringdal

Kristen Ringdal

Professor of Sociology, NTNU; National Coordinator for Norway, European Social Survey Project

Albert Simkus

Albert Simkus

Professor, Department of Sociology and Political Science NTNU.