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A longitudinal study of mental health in refugees from Burma : the impact of therapeutic interventions

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Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
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Abstract

Objective: The present study seeks to examine the impact of therapeutic interventions for people from refugee backgrounds within a naturalistic setting. Method: Sixty-two refugees from Burma were assessed soon after arriving in Australia. All participants received standard interventions provided by a resettlement organisation which included therapeutic interventions, assessment, social assistance, and referrals where appropriate. At the completion of service provision a follow-up assessment was conducted. Results: Over the course of the intervention, participants experienced a significant decrease in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and somatisation. Pre-intervention symptoms predicted symptoms post-intervention for post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and somatisation. Post-migration living difficulties, the number of traumas experienced, and the number of contacts with the service agency were unrelated to all mental health outcomes. Conclusions: In the first Australian study of its kind, reductions in mental health symptoms post-intervention were significantly linked to pre-intervention symptomatology and the number of therapy sessions predicted post-intervention symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Future studies need to include larger samples and control groups to verify findings.

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