Is torture reliably assessed and a valid indicator of poor mental health?
The topic studied in this paper is the reliability of reports of having been subjected to torture.
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Is torture reliably assessed and a valid indicator of
poor mental health?/ Hollifield, Michael; Warner, Teddy
D.; Westermeyer, Joseph.
Journal of nervous and mental disease ; vol. 199, no. 1, 2011. - p.
3-10 : tab..
Kurdish and Vietnamese refugees in the United States (N=252)
were inter viewed about their past experiences and current mental
health status, inter alia, including a "subjective" approach (the
HTQ single question of having experienced torture) and an
"objective" approach (addressing experience of each of the four
definition criteria for torture stated in the United Nations
Convention against torture). In addition, instruments for assessing
mental health and functional limitations were applied, and a subset
of the population were interviewed in-depth for their perceptions
of the concept of torture. The authors found that the subjective
and objective torture assessment approaches had low mutual
correlation as well as low test-retest reliability. The association
between torture and mental health indicators were similarly
relatively low when controlling for other war-related trauma,
indicating that torture had limited specific health impact over and
above other war-trauma. While the paper raises many questions and
indicates a need for further studies into valid and reliable
methods for identifying torture, it is an important methodological
contribution to torture epidemiology.
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