A Systematic Review of Psychosocial Interventions for Adult Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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Europe is in the midst of the largest refugee migration since the Second World War; there is an urgent need to provide an updated systematic review of the current best evidence for managing mental distress in refugee populations. The aim of this review is to provide an exhaustive summary of the current literature on psychosocial interventions, both trauma- and non-trauma-focused, for refugee populations experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive, or anxiety symptoms. This review found medium to high quality evidence supporting the use of narrative exposure therapy (NET). A lack of culturally adapted treatments was apparent and there was less evidence to support standard cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and multidisciplinary treatments. NET produced positive outcomes in refugees from a diverse range of backgrounds and trauma types. There is a general dearth of research in all intervention types: further research should include more real-world  multidisciplinary interventions that better model clinical practice. Recommendations for evaluating local need, and creating a culturally sensitive workforce are discussed.

Access Free Abstract


Tribe, Rachel H., Kyra-Verena Sendt, and Derek K. Tracy. (2019). A systematic review of psychosocial interventions for adult refugees and asylum seekers.  Journal of Mental Health  28(6), 662-676.

About This Study:

Outcome(s): Anxiety Reduction, Depression Reduction, PTSD Reduction, Somatic Symptoms Reduction
Intervention(s): Mental health and psychosocial support services
Intervention Duration: Varies by study
Relevant ORR Program: Ethnic Community Self-Help Program, Preferred Communities, Refugee Health Promotion, Refugee Support Services, Services to Older Refugees
Study Type: Systematic review
Full Text Availability: Paid
Direction of Evidence: Inconclusive or mixed impact, Positive impact
Strength of Evidence: Strong
Population(s): Refugees
Gender(s) of Participants: All
Age(s) of Participants: Adults
Region(s) of Origin of Participants: Multiple Regions

Relevant Evidence Summaries:

The evidence was reviewed and included in the following summaries: