Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Ian B. Cole


Studies have examined the causes and impacts of terrorism in Nigeria; however, no known research has documented the psychological impacts of witnessing ongoing Boko Haram terrorist violence based on the lived experiences of Nigerian children. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the psychological consequences of the Boko Haram insurgency based on the lived experience of Nigerian children exposed to terrorism in Nigeria. The study's theoretical framework combined Piaget's theory of cognitive development and punctuated equilibrium theory. The central research question examined the adverse psychological effects of the Boko Haram insurgency for Nigerian children residing in Nigeria. Data for this study were collected through interviews from a purposeful sample of 8 participants who were exposed to the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and a review of literature that primarily included peer-reviewed articles and studies relevant to the psychological theories. Colaizzi's method of phenomenological analysis was employed for data analysis. Results showed that all the participants reported negative symptoms of mental health disorders, which did not lead to permanent mental health illnesses. Among the participants, the primary factors that moderated the symptoms, preventing progression to permanent mental health illnesses, were fasting and religious support. Implications for positive social change include giving voice to voiceless Nigerian children and providing the Nigerian populace, multilateral and bilateral organizations, and the Nigerian government with information necessary to understand the effects of terrorism on children and promote resilience in children who have experienced terrorism.