Joining Multiple-Family Groups

To improve the engagement strategies of preventive interventions for refugee families, this NIMH funded study used mixed methods to investigate family factors and processes involved in engaging Bosnian refugees in multiple-family support and education groups (Weine, 2001). Refugee families that joined multiple-family groups were distinguished from families that did not in terms of differences in quantitative factors. Families that engaged experienced statistically significant more transitions, more traumas and more difficulties in adjustment. Family processes that may be related to multivariate analysis of these quantitative factors in relation to engagement and retention were specified through qualitative investigation (Weine et al, 2005). The findings indicated that engagement may be related not only to factual characteristics of families, but also to family member’s perceptions about strategies for responding to adversities. Families that engaged had concerns about traumatic memories that persisted despite avoidant behaviors. However, what they perceived as more of a problem were concerns regarding maintaining the family, supporting their children and rebuilding their social life. This study underlined the importance of a focus upon engagement in conducting multiple-family groups with families that have experienced adversities related to political violence. Engagement strategies for multiple-family groups should correspond with the underlying family factors and processes by which refugee families manage transitions, traumas and adjustment difficulties. 

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