The systematic disappearance of persons in the context of wars and conflicts is a phenomenon occurring in many countries. The fate of the disappeared can often never be clarified. Due to this uncertainty, relatives of the disappeared are often exposed to a state between hope and hopelessness. In the long term, this can have negative consequences for mental health, manifesting in somatic stress symptoms as well as prolonged grief reactions and depression.

Although the disappearance of individuals is associated with far-reaching consequences at both the emotional and legal levels for the bereaved, there is a scarcity of empirical data on the psychological impact of these ambiguous losses.

The aim of this study was to examine the mental health of relatives of disappeared persons. The initial aim was to investigate what mental health conditions are present in relatives of the disappeared.


The project was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.


Freie Universität Berlin; Tierra y Vida Colombia


Dr. Maya Böhm
Dr. Yuriy Nesterko
Tel.: (030) 30 39 06 -71


Schwerpunkte: Wissenschaftliche Begleitung, Internet-basierte Behandlungsansätze, Konsequenzen extremer Traumatisierung und Psychodiagnostik.