The Harvard Trauma Questionnaire: Adapting a Cross-Cultural Instrument for Measuring Torture, Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Iraqi Refugees

Download PDF
Marwa Shoeb, Richard Mollica, Harvey M. Weinstein
Publication Date
September 1, 2007
Publication Type
Journal Article


Background: Mental health assessments in post-conflict zones have relied heavily on Western psychiatric scales. Yet, a strict dependence on the paradigms of Western psychiatry risks inappropriately prioritizing syndromes, such as PTSD, which, however important, are eclipsed by local concerns.


Material and discussion: In Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest population of Iraqi refugees in the United States, 60 Iraqi refugee life stories were collected in order to adapt the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) to the Iraqi context.


Conclusion: The methodology described proved to be a useful approach to developing a trauma measure that is culturally grounded in a multi-dimensional model of mental health.