A systematic review of school-based social-emotional interventions for refugee and war-traumatized youth

Added November 28, 2017

Citation: Sullivan A.L., and Simonson G.R. A systematic review of school based social-emotional interventions for refugee and war-traumatized youth. Review of Educational Research. 2016;86(2):503-30.

Thirteen studies of school-based interventions for refugee and war-traumatized youth were included in this review. The cognitive behavioral therapy-based interventions showed consistent positive outcomes for symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Schools provide the majority of mental health services accessed by children and youth. This narrative systematic review evaluated school-based interventions aiming to improve mental health or social-emotional functioning of refugees or immigrants with war trauma. Meta-analysis was not possible due to the variations in treatment approaches, timeframes, and study populations. The studies included 1,433 participants from 26 countries, aged between 3 and 19 years. Three types of school-based interventions were identified: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), creative expression, and multimodal models. The CBT interventions had the most consistent positive outcomes for mental health, and often included culturally sensitive adaptations. Creative expression interventions were the most commonly used intervention, but demonstrated conflicting results.


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