Efficacy and Acceptability of Psychosocial Interventions in Asylum Seekers and Refugees: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Abstract:

Aims: In the past few years, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of forcibly displaced migrants worldwide, of which a substantial proportion is refugees and asylum seekers. It is therefore timely and particularly relevant to assess whether current evidence supports the provision of psychosocial interventions for this population. Authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions compared with control conditions (treatment as usual/no treatment, waiting list, psychological placebo) aimed at reducing mental health problems in distressed refugees and asylum seekers. Most evidence supported interventions based on cognitive behavioural therapies with a trauma-focused component. Limitations of this review include the limited number of studies collected, with a relatively low total number of participants, and the limited available data for positive outcomes like functioning and quality of life. Considering the epidemiological relevance of psychological distress and mental health conditions in refugees and asylum seekers, and in view of the existing data on the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions, these interventions should be routinely made available as part of the health care of distressed refugees and asylum seekers. Evidence-based guidelines and implementation packages should be developed accordingly.

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Citation:

Turrini, G., Purgato, M., Acarturk, C., Anttila, M., Au, T., Ballette, F., … & Hall, J. (2019). Efficacy and acceptability of psychosocial interventions in asylum seekers and refugees: Systematic review and meta-analysis.  Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences,  28(4), 376-388.

About This Study:

Outcome(s): Anxiety Reduction, Depression Reduction, PTSD 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, Unaccompanied Refugee Minors
Study Type: Meta-analysis
Full Text Availability: Free
Direction of Evidence: Inconclusive or mixed impact, No impact, Positive impact
Strength of Evidence: Strong
Population(s): Refugees, Unaccompanied Minors
Gender(s) of Participants: All
Age(s) of Participants: Multiple Age Groups
Region(s) of Origin of Participants: Multiple Regions

Relevant Evidence Summaries:

The evidence was reviewed and included in the following summaries: