Psychological Interventions for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Refugees and Asylum Seekers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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There is a high prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in refugee and asylum seeker populations which can pose distinct challenges for mental health professionals. This review included 16 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with 1111 participants investigating the effect of psychological interventions on PTSD in these populations. Despite the challenges of conducting research in this field we found evidence for trauma-focused psychological interventions for PTSD in this population. Following sub-group analyses, we found evidence to support the use of EMDR and Narrative Exposure Therapy for PTSD symptoms. We considered these findings in relation to the broader PTSD treatment literature and related literature from survivors of large scale conflict. These findings suggest that trauma focused psychological therapies can be effective in improving symptoms for refugees and asylum seekers with PTSD.

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Thompson, C. T., Vidgen, A., & Roberts, N. P. (2018). Psychological interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder in refugees and asylum seekers: A systematic review and meta-analysis.  Clinical Psychology Review,  63, 66-79.

About This Study:

Outcome(s): 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, Services to Older Refugees
Study Type: Meta-analysis
Full Text Availability: Paid
Direction of Evidence: Inconclusive or mixed impact, No impact, Positive impact
Strength of Evidence: Strong
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: