The effect of forced disappearance on the physical and psychological health of family members was assessed by interviews carried out in Honduras. Families of the disappeared were compared with two control groups: (1) families who lost a member due to accident or illness; and (2) families where no one had died within the past 10 years. Constellations of stress-related symptoms commonly seen in post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders were approx. 2 times more prevalent in families of the disappeared as compared to the other two groups, indicating that families of the disappeared suffer over and above that due to normal grieving. It is suggested that the atmosphere of fear and isolation experienced by families of the disappeared is a causative factor in the prolongation of stress-related disorders years after the traumatic event.