Appraisal of self, social environment, and state authority as a possible mediator of posttraumatic stress disorder in tortured political activists

J Abnorm Psychol. 1996 May;105(2):232-6. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.105.2.232.


This study examined appraisal of self and others, as measured by semantic differential ratings of Police, State, Society, Family, Friend, Myself as a Man/Woman, and Myself as a Political Person, in 55 tortured political activists in Turkey, 55 nontortured political activists, and 55 nontortured, politically noninvolved controls. There were no remarkable differences between tortured and nontortured political activists; both groups differed from controls in having a more negative appraisal of the police and the state and stronger perceptions of danger, mistrust, and injustice in relation to state authority. Lack of beliefs concerning a "benevolent state" may have protected the survivors from the traumatic effects of state-perpetrated torture. Further research into the possible protective role of belief systems in posttraumatic stress disorder is needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ego*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Politics*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Social Environment*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Torture*