The Mechanisms of Psychosocial Injury Following Human Rights Violations, Mass Trauma, and Torture

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The pervasive negative impact of human rights violations (HRVs) on psychological functioning has been well documented. There is limited research, however, investigating the mechanisms that mediate the link between exposure to HRVs and various mental and behavioral health outcomes. We propose three theory- and evidence-based pathways by which HRVs may lead to psychosocial impairment, namely, disruptions in interpersonal processes, decreased perceptions of control, and the denigration of individual and group identity. We also underscore how the post-HRV environment moderates each of these pathways, and we describe the implications of the proposed model for clinical practice.

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