Posttraumatic growth amongst refugee populations

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Posttraumatic growth (PTG) can occur across diverse age groups subsequent to numerous traumatic events, and is often associated with positive outcomes. Results from the systematic review of randomised (1 RCT) and non-randomised studies (16 studies) produce a rich dataset on PTG; however the mixed results make it challenging to draw affirmative conclusions. For example, of the 7 studies that reported on the relationship between PTG and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), three suggested that there was no relationship; two reported a negative relationship; one reported a curvilinear relationship and another reported a positive relationship. Evidence on PTG clinical interventions i.e. Narrative Exposure Therapy,  indicated an increase in PTG at 2 and 4 months follow-ups; however this effect was not significant at the 4 month time-point.

The ever increasing displacement of refugees from their homes is a growing concern worldwide. Often, these refugees have been exposed to trauma and adversity that contribute to mental health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); therefore refugee mental health has become a public health priority globally. The objective of the systematic review was to establish an understanding of PTG, as well as informing the development and implementation of clinical interventions to promote psychological growth, amongst the refugee population. Given that the large volume of the evidence is drawn from studies of varying designs, quality, as well as unstandardised self-reporting measures, there remains a need for high quality experimental and longitudinal research studies utilising consistent outcome measures/tools to inform the relationship between PTG and PTSD in line with respective clinical interventions that promote psychological growth amongst the refugee population.

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