How Empathic Are War Veterans? An Examination of the Psychological Impacts of Combat Exposure

Sandra P. Trujillo, Natalia Trujillo, Juan E. Ugarriza, Luz H. Uribe, David A. Pineda, Daniel C. Aguirre-Acevedo, Agustín Ibáñez, Jean Decety, Mauricio A. Garcia-Barrera

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


How empathic are battle-experienced war veterans and demobilized ex-combatants? Individuals who have participated in war-related violence tend to show an increased risk of mental health problems, which makes their readaptation to postconflict civilian life much more difficult. This study is the first systematic attempt to evaluate whether war experiences are potentially related to empathic deficit among veterans. Based on a sample of 624 demobilized ex-guerrillas and ex-paramilitaries from the Colombian armed conflict, we identify 3 clearly distinct empathic profiles, suggesting that, while lack of empathy is not generalized among ex-combatants, there is an important subgroup of veterans who present such a dispositional profile. Identification of this critical subgroup will be crucial to policies aimed at assisting postconflict reintegration efforts. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-426
Number of pages4
JournalPeace and Conflict
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 23 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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