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Letters to the Editor
January 2008

Torture, Culture, War Zone Exposure, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Criterion A’s Bracket Creep

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(1):115-116. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2007.14

The March 2007 article by Başoğlu et al1 is certainly timely. However, we disagree with their assertion that findings from their study, which was designed specifically for use with European civilians exposed to a civil war, “are highly relevant”1(p284) for “international law” regarding interrogation procedures of terrorist-camp–trained detainees, eg, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Başoğlu et al study has major methodological and conceptual limitations that severely limit its generalizability. Furthermore, the extremely broad conceptualization of Criterion A events that Başoğlu et al use arguably trivializes posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), doing an injustice to those who have experienced genuine torture or combat.

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