Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 586–595 | Cite as

Cultural Considerations in the Assessment of Survivors of Torture

  • Sumithra S. RaghavanEmail author
Review Paper


The cultural and ethnic landscape of North America is becoming increasingly diverse, with many refugees fleeing torture and persecution and seeking safety in the United States and Canada. In working with this population, clinicians must implement culturally appropriate methods of assessing and treating individuals from diverse backgrounds. Culture can exert a powerful and often misunderstood influence on psychological assessment, and the critical challenge is to account for both subjective experience of the client and the objective symptoms or behaviors present. The present review explores the literature on cross-cultural issues in the assessment of survivors of torture. I summarize best practices and review the theoretical and statistical bases for establishing the equivalence of constructs across cultures. Discussion centers around the utility of a cross-culturally valid measure of distress, and it is hoped that this review will encourage collaboration between clinicians and psychometricians to develop assessments for use with this vulnerable population.


Refugees Cross-cultural assessment Torture Measurement invariance 



The author would like to thank Dr. Barry Rosenfeld and Dr. Andrew Rasmussen, as well as Priyadarshiny Sandanapitchai, for their assistance developing and preparing this manuscript.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William Paterson UniversityWayneUSA

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