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Addressing Mental Health Disparities in Refugee Children: A Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) Collaboration

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02562794
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 29, 2015
Last Update Posted : July 10, 2019
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Theresa Betancourt, Boston College

Brief Summary:
This study will use CBPR mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative data collection) to conduct needs assessments and design and evaluate a core family-based intervention. Project activities will emphasize capacity building in two refugee communities resettled in Greater Boston—the Somali Bantu and the Bhutanese—actively engaging refugee community members, community advisory boards, services providers, and other stakeholders. Specific Aims are to: (1) deepen partnerships with the Somali Bantu and Bhutanese communities through co-leadership, capacity-building, and knowledge sharing; (2) collect and apply qualitative data to (a) prepare a needs assessment of mental health in children and adolescents, barriers to care, and services preferences with each target refugee group; (b) develop mental health/psychosocial assessments for refugee caregivers and children; (c) adapt the core components of a family-based strengthening intervention for use with refugees; and (3) conduct an 80-family pilot study to examine acceptability and sustainability of the intervention. Key outcomes will be reduced mental health symptoms among children and adolescents and improvement in caregiver-child relationships.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Child/Adolescent Problems Mental Disorders Behavioral: Family Strengthening Intervention-Refugees Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The proposed mixed methods study will apply CBPR methods in an innovative, cross-cultural project to assess mental health problems in children and community strengths in two refugee communities—the Somali Bantu and the Bhutanese—and to design and pilot test a family-based intervention for refugees in their native languages (Somali Bantu Maay Maay and the Nepali language used by Bhutanese refugees). We will use qualitative research methods developed in preliminary research with the Somali Bantu to identify local conceptualizations of mental health problems, resilience, attitudes about healing and help-seeking, and preferences for mental health services among resettled Bhutanese. The CBPR team will collaborate on mental health needs assessments for both communities, with attention paid to shared experiences and strengths.

Findings on risk and protective factors influencing child mental health will inform development of a preventive intervention. Community Advisory Boards (CABs) will actively participate in the review and selection of intervention components. Based on preliminary research with the Somali Bantu community, we anticipate that a family-based intervention model will respond well to community requests for parenting support and psychoeducation about trauma and effects in families. An intervention positively oriented towards existing sources of family resilience and self-efficacy has great potential for improving access to and engagement in mental health care and other social services, and for increasing both formal and non-formal supports—all essential for reducing mental health disparities.

In this manner, community and university partners will collaborate to achieve four Specific Aims:

Aim 1: Strengthen existing relationships and decision-making partnerships with the Somali Bantu and Bhutanese refugee communities in Greater Boston through community based participatory research in partnership with the Shanbaro Community Association and Chelsea Collaborative in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Aim 2: Collect and analyze qualitative data on local conceptualizations of mental health problems and resilience in school-age children (ages 5-17) as well as help seeking and services preferences among Somali Bantu and Bhutanese refugee families; use findings to inform intervention targets and critical components of a family-based preventive intervention, the Family Strengthening Intervention (FSI) for refugees.

Aim 3: Use qualitative findings to prepare (a) a needs assessment of mental health in school-age children, community strengths, barriers to care, and services preferences with each target refugee group; (b) a preliminary battery of mental health/psychosocial measures for use in mental health assessment of children and caregivers; and (c) a draft set of intervention, recruitment, and training materials.

Aim 4: Use CBPR approaches to recruit and enroll 80 families in a feasibility study, with half randomized to care as usual and half to the FSI delivered by trained community interventionists; conduct longitudinal assessments at baseline, post-intervention, and 6 months. Hypothesis 4.1: Participation in the refugee FSI will be associated with improved communication and connectedness within families, increased mental health services access, and increased knowledge among caregivers and children on the consequences of trauma in refugee families. Hypothesis 4.2: Participation in the refugee FSI will be associated with increased application of healthy parenting skills, parental self-efficacy, parental supervision of children, improved functioning and reduced symptoms of internalizing and externalizing in school-age refugee children.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 265 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Addressing Mental Health Disparities in Refugee Children: A CBPR Collaboration
Actual Study Start Date : August 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date : February 2019
Actual Study Completion Date : April 2019

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Mental Health

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Intervention
Family Strengthening Intervention-Refugees. A total of 20 Somali Bantu and 20 Bhutanese refugee families will participate in a Family Strengthening Intervention adapted for use with refugees.
Behavioral: Family Strengthening Intervention-Refugees
This study aims to design a preventive intervention for at-risk refugee children and families. The intervention is focused on strengthening core family resources and promoting resilience and healthy parent-child interactions.

No Intervention: Control
A total of 20 Somali Bantu and 20 Bhutanese refugee families will receive services as usual.



Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in depressive symptoms among children and adolescents [ Time Frame: Depressive symptoms will be measured at three time points - at baseline prior to intervention, immediately post-intervention (an average of 16 weeks after baseline), and 6 months after the completion of the intervention ]
    Depressive symptoms will be measured with an adapted version of the Center for Epidemiologic Study-Depression) CES-D scale


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in anxiety symptoms among children and adolescents [ Time Frame: Anxiety symptoms will be measured at three time points - at baseline prior to intervention, immediately post intervention (an average of 16 weeks after baseline), and six months after the completion of the intervention ]
    Anxiety symptoms will be measured with an adapted version of the CES-D

  2. Change in externalizing/behavioral problems among children and adolescents [ Time Frame: Externalizing symptoms will be measured at three time points - at baseline prior to intervention, immediately post-intervention (an average of 16 weeks after the baseline), and 6 months after the completion of the intervention ]
    Externalizing symptoms will be measured with the (Youth Self-Report) YSR externalizing sub scale

  3. Change in parent-child relationships [ Time Frame: Quality of parent-child relationships will be measured at three time points - at baseline prior to intervention, immediately post-intervention (an average of 16 weeks after the baseline), and 6 months after the completion of the intervention. ]
    Parent-child relationships will be measured with an adapted version of the Alabama parenting scale



Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   5 Years and older   (Child, Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Refugee families must have a school-aged child (aged 5-17), and caregivers must be at least 18 years of age and live in the same household as the child.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Untreated mental illness or active family crisis

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT02562794


Locations
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United States, Massachusetts
Chelsea Collaborative
Chelsea, Massachusetts, United States, 02150
Jewish Family Service
Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, 01108
Sponsors and Collaborators
Boston College
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Theresa Betancourt, ScD Boston College
Publications:
Betancourt TS, Frounfelker R, Mishra T, Hussein A & Falzarano R. American Journal of Public Health. Published on-line ahead of print April 23, 2015; e1-8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302504

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Responsible Party: Theresa Betancourt, Salem Professor in Global Practice, Boston College
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02562794    
Other Study ID Numbers: 15860
R24MD008057 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: September 29, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 10, 2019
Last Verified: July 2019
Keywords provided by Theresa Betancourt, Boston College:
refugee
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Mental Disorders