Psychological responses to war and atrocity: the limitations of current concepts

Soc Sci Med. 1995 Apr;40(8):1073-82. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(94)00181-r.


Because of the prevalence of wars, political violence and other forms of man-made disaster in Third World countries many individuals and communities suffer prolonged and often multiple traumas. In Western psychiatry certain conceptions of the response to violence and trauma have been developed, including the widely used category of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We argue that because concepts such as PTSD implicitly endorse a Western ontology and value system, their use in non-Western groups should be, atmost, tentative.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Bereavement
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social Support
  • Social Values
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Survival / psychology
  • Uganda
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Warfare*