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August 4, 2004

Mental Health in Postwar Afghanistan

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for International Health and Development, Boston University School of Public Health (Dr Bolton), and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center (Dr Betancourt), Boston, Mass.

JAMA. 2004;292(5):626-628. doi:10.1001/jama.292.5.626

This issue of JAMA presents the findings from 2 epidemiologically well-designed studies of mental health in communities affected by the war in Afghanistan. The study by Lopes Cardozo and colleagues1 is the first nationally representative mental health survey conducted in Afghanistan to be reported. The study by Scholte and colleagues2 examined mental health symptoms among a large sample of mainly ethnic Pashtuns residing in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar, the seat of the Taliban movement. These studies add to a growing literature on the devastating impact of war on the mental health of civilian populations and to the sparse medical literature on Afghanistan since the Taliban era.3,4