Internally Displaced “Victims of Armed Conflict” in Colombia: The Trajectory and Trauma Signature of Forced Migration

James M. Shultz, Dana Rose Garfin, Zelde Espinel, Ricardo Araya, Maria A. Oquendo, Milton L. Wainberg, Roberto Chaskel, Silvia L. Gaviria, Anna E. Ordóñez, Maria Espinola, Fiona E. Wilson, Natalia Muñoz García, Ángela Milena Gómez Ceballos, Yanira Garcia-Barcena, Helen Verdeli, Yuval Neria

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


While conflict-induced forced migration is a global phenomenon, the situation in Colombia, South America, is distinctive. Colombia has ranked either first or second in the number of internally displaced persons for 10 years, a consequence of decades of armed conflict compounded by high prevalence of drug trafficking. The displacement trajectory for displaced persons in Colombia proceeds through a sequence of stages: (1) pre-expulsion threats and vulnerability, (2) expulsion, (3) migration, (4) initial adaptation to relocation, (5) protracted resettlement (the end point for most forced migrants), and, rarely, (6) return to the community of origin. Trauma signature analysis, an evidence-based method that elucidates the physical and psychological consequences associated with exposures to harm and loss during disasters and complex emergencies, was used to identify the psychological risk factors and potentially traumatic events experienced by conflict-displaced persons in Colombia, stratified across the phases of displacement. Trauma and loss are experienced differentially throughout the pathway of displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex emergency
  • Forced displacement
  • Forced migration
  • Humanitarian crisis
  • Internal displacement
  • Internally displaced persons
  • TSIG
  • Trauma signature analysis
  • Victims of armed conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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