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May 2001

The Toll of Refugee Status and the State of Trauma Research

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001;58(5):483-484. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.58.5.483

METHODS for studying traumatized populations have advanced substantially in recent decades. Trauma research has integrated basic methodological procedures into its standard repertoire, advancing from open-ended interviews of selected trauma survivors to rigorous studies of epidemiology. This is no small feat given that trauma is an inherently difficult subject for scientific investigation.

The study by Van Ommeren et al1 of tortured Bhutanese refugees in Nepal in this issue of the ARCHIVES has vanquished a myriad of methodological obstacles through application of systematic research tools. It has provided important data about a difficult-to-penetrate subject in this underserved and underrecognized population with clearly unmet mental health needs.

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