Visions from the past: Reflecting on the history of epidemiological research in the refugee and post-conflict mental health field


  • Derrick Silove



Refugee, Asylum, Torture, history of torture, torture journal


Epidemiological research has made a major contribution to the knowledge-base in the field of refugee and post-conflict mental health in the last 30 years.  There is a tendency however to question the cultural validity of study findings, or, alternatively, to argue that we have sufficient data to predict the mental health and psychosocial (MHPSS) needs of future populations exposed to mass conflict. This paper attempts to address both issues. Specifically, it is argued that, rather than an indicator of cultural inaccuracy in measurement, the large variation in symptom prevalence rates observed across studies may reflect a genuine difference given the unique profile of risk and protective factors that characterize refugee populations based on their individual histories of conflict and current conditions of resettlement. There are compelling reasons therefore, where feasible, to include epidemiological studies in the comprehensive approach of data gathering in assessing MHPSS needs - and to monitor changes over time -  in current and future populations exposed to mass conflict.


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How to Cite

Silove, D. (2022). Visions from the past: Reflecting on the history of epidemiological research in the refugee and post-conflict mental health field. Torture Journal, 32(1-2), 219–226.