The Afghan Symptom Checklist: A Culturally Grounded Approach to Mental Health Assessment in a Conflict Zone

Authors

  • Kenneth E. Miller PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Pomona College
    2. AFSC Quaker Service
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      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

  • Patricia Omidian PhD,

    1. AFSC Quaker Service
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    • 5

      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

  • Abdul Samad Quraishy,

    1. AFSC Quaker Service
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    • 5

      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

  • Naseema Quraishy,

    1. AFSC Quaker Service
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    • 5

      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

  • Mohammed Nader Nasiry,

    1. AFSC Quaker Service
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    • 5

      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

  • Seema Nasiry BA,

    1. AFSC Quaker Service
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    • 5

      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

  • Nazar Mohammed Karyar MS,

    1. AFSC Quaker Service
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      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.

  • Abdul Aziz Yaqubi

    1. AFSC Quaker Service
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    • 5

      Kenneth E. Miller, PhD, Psychology Department, Pomona College; Patricia Omidian, PhD, Abdul Samad Quraishy, Naseema Quraishy, Mohammed Nader Nasiry, Seema Nasiry, BA, Nazar Mohammed Karyar, MS, and Abdul Aziz Yagubi, AFSC Quaker Service.


  • This project was supported by grants from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at San Francisco State University and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and by material support from the AFSC.

Psychology Department, Pomona College, 550 Harvard Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711. E-mail: ken.miller@pomona.edu

Abstract

This article describes a methodology for developing culturally grounded assessment measures in conflict and postconflict situations. A mixed-method design was used in Kabul, Afghanistan, to identify local indicators of distress and develop the 22-item Afghan Symptom Checklist (ASCL). The ASCL contains several indigenous items and items familiar to Western mental health professionals. The ASCL was pilot tested and subsequently administered to 324 adults in 8 districts of Kabul. It demonstrated excellent reliability (a = .93) and good construct validity, correlating strongly with a measure of exposure to war-related violence and loss (r = .70). Results of the survey indicate moderate levels of distress among Afghan men and markedly higher levels of distress and impaired functioning among women (and widows in particular).

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