Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 11:20 to 11::40

Prevalence of post-traumatic mental disorders in survivors of torture in confinement in Mexico City

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Dr. Emmanuel Santos ( Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad (CCTI) - Mexico ), Prof. Mariana Castilla ( Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal - Mexico )


Being subjected to torture implies facing a situation marked by its inevitability, unpredictability, uncertain duration, constant danger, and an overwhelming sense of powerlessness. The victim develops severe trauma, which in turn triggers a myriad of harmful biopsychosocial effects. In particular, the psychological effects are varied and they are related to the person’s life experience and his/her cultural, social and political context. These symptomatic responses can take the form of a mental disorder. Depression and anxiety, in their various forms, are the most commonly documented diagnoses.


In the context of the biopsychosocial impacts documentation recorded by the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal) under Recommendation 14/2014, individual screenings of the biopsychosocial impact were performed on a sample of 46 complaint files. Individual screenings consisted of document review, in-depth interviews, and the application of the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ), and the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL). All the data were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics, using the 15.0 version of the SPSS software.


The main diagnostic groups confirmed during the application of the MINI were mood and anxiety disorders. The main mood disorder was current major depressive episode (83.87%). 32.26% of the sample met the criteria for relapsing major depressive episode and 61.29% of the sample met the criteria for major depressive episode with melancholic features. PTSD was diagnosed in 45.16% of the cases under evaluation. Panic Disorder was the third most commonly documented diagnosis, in 35.48% of the cases. 64.52% of the sample reported suicide risk. The total score for the individuals interviewed with the HTQ had negative correlation with the perception of quality of life and personal health, and the feeling of life purpose and self-satisfaction.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

The authors have no actual or potential conflicts of interests regarding this study or its funding.

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