Psychosocial interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder in refugees and asylum seekers resettled in high-income countries: Systematic review and meta-analysis

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Twelve randomized controlled clinical trials were included to evaluate psychosocial interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in refugees and asylum seekers resettled in high-income countries. Psychosocial interventions were overall effective in decreasing PTSD symptoms relative to control groups.

Seven databases were searched in July 2016 to identify the twelve randomized controlled clinical trials for the meta-analysis. The primary outcome assessed was the mean score post-intervention on a valid PTSD rating scale, such as the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale or the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Overall, the psychosocial interventions for asylum seekers and refugees with PTSD were found to provide significant benefits in reducing PTSD symptoms. Narrative exposure therapy, which is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy with a trauma focus, was the best supported intervention. Trauma-focused psychotherapy was the next-best supported, with two heterogenous studies in favour of the intervention. However, due to the low sample size and limited methodological quality, the authors recommend that more rigorous trials should be conducted.

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