Intervention Research with Migrants and Refugees

Insights derived from the aforementioned studies gave us an empirical basis to try to help refugees through focusing on helping their families.   This led to developing a family intervention with narrative methods that aimed to improve access to mental health services and other sources of support.   The Prevention and Access Intervention for Families (PAIF) was conducted with Bosnian refugee families in Chicago from 1998 to 2003 by a collaborative multidisciplinary services research team at the University of Illinois at Chicago (Weine, 1998).  This NIMH funded study investigated a Coffee and Families Education and Support Group (CAFES), which was a time-limited multiple-family education and support group for Bosnian families.  This condition was compared with a control group that received no such intervention.  A group of survivors with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their families were randomly assigned to receive either the intervention or the control condition.  Longitudinal assessments occurred every six months for eighteen months to document effects over time post-intervention.  Results showed that the CAFES multiple-family group was effective in: 1) engagement (73%) and retention (Weine et al, 2005); 2) as an access intervention in the overall sample (longitudinal increases in number of mental health visits (p<.005); both depression (p<.003) and family communication (p<.0159) enhanced the group’s access effect) (Weine et al, in press(b)); 3) as a preventive intervention (with increased social support in sub-samples of males, urban families, and more highly traumatized) (Weine et al, 2004). Youth CAFES was an adaptation of CAFES to more specifically focus on the needs of teen refugees in Chicago that has been qualitatively studied (Weine et al, 2006).  Tea and Families Education and Support (TAFES) was an NIMH funded adaptation of the CAFES intervention for newly arrived Kosovar refugees in Chicago.  The results showed increases in social support and psychiatric service utilization amongst participating families (Weine et al, 2003).  In sum, these CAFES studies demonstrated that multiple-family groups with families post-war may be effective in increasing networking, knowledge, and communication, and to a lesser extent support. It showed that further investigation of multiple-family groups post-war is warranted, especially focused on youth.


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