This research will highlight two central factors inadequately addressed in our understanding of the pathway from political violence, specifically torture, to differential mental health outcomes. First, the affirmative appraisal of control, such as through religious and political meaning, is hypothesized to reduce posttraumatic psychiatric morbidity. Second, neuroendocrine activity, specifically low cortisol levels, is hypothesized to associate inversely with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among trauma survivors. This study is a prospective longitudinal investigation of torture survivors in Nepal followed over an eighteen month period. One hundred torture survivors and fifty control participants will be assessed for PTSD symptoms, appraisal of controllability, physical health, and salivary cortisol levels. Ultimately, this research has relevance to prevention and intervention for mental health sequelae for Americans affected by poltical violence, foreign-born Americans who have fled political violence, and populations with endemic political violence.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Behavioral Genetics and Epidemiology Study Section (BGES)
Program Officer
Wynne, Debra K
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Emory University
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Kohrt, Brandon A; Yang, Minyoung; Rai, Sauharda et al. (2016) Recruitment of child soldiers in Nepal: Mental health status and risk factors for voluntary participation of youth in armed groups. Peace Confl 22:208-216
Kohrt, Brandon A; Worthman, Carol M; Adhikari, Ramesh P et al. (2016) Psychological resilience and the gene regulatory impact of posttraumatic stress in Nepali child soldiers. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 113:8156-61
Kohrt, Brandon A; Bourey, Christine (2016) Culture and Comorbidity: Intimate Partner Violence as a Common Risk Factor for Maternal Mental Illness and Reproductive Health Problems among Former Child Soldiers in Nepal. Med Anthropol Q 30:515-535
Kohrt, Brandon A; Jordans, Mark J D; Koirala, Suraj et al. (2015) Designing mental health interventions informed by child development and human biology theory: a social ecology intervention for child soldiers in Nepal. Am J Hum Biol 27:27-40
Kohrt, Brandon A; Worthman, Carol M; Ressler, Kerry J et al. (2015) Cross-cultural gene- environment interactions in depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the cortisol awakening response: FKBP5 polymorphisms and childhood trauma in South Asia. Int Rev Psychiatry 27:180-96
Kohrt, Brandon A; Hruschka, Daniel J; Worthman, Carol M et al. (2012) Political violence and mental health in Nepal: prospective study. Br J Psychiatry 201:268-75
Kohrt, Brandon A; Hruschka, Daniel J (2010) Nepali concepts of psychological trauma: the role of idioms of distress, ethnopsychology and ethnophysiology in alleviating suffering and preventing stigma. Cult Med Psychiatry 34:322-52
Kohrt, Brandon A; Jordans, Mark J D; Tol, Wietse A et al. (2010) Social ecology of child soldiers: child, family, and community determinants of mental health, psychosocial well-being, and reintegration in Nepal. Transcult Psychiatry 47:727-53
Kohrt, Brandon A; Speckman, Rebecca A; Kunz, Richard D et al. (2009) Culture in psychiatric epidemiology: using ethnography and multiple mediator models to assess the relationship of caste with depression and anxiety in Nepal. Ann Hum Biol 36:261-80
Kohrt, Brandon A; Jordans, Mark J D; Tol, Wietse A et al. (2008) Comparison of mental health between former child soldiers and children never conscripted by armed groups in Nepal. JAMA 300:691-702