METHODS: Data collection included two strategies. First, previous systematic reviews were searched for studies that met the inclusion criteria of the current review. Second, a new search was done, covering the time since the previous reviews, i.e. January 2013 to May 2017. Five search concepts were combined in order to capture relevant literature: stigma, mental health, intervention, professional students in medicine and nursing, and LMICs. A qualitative analysis of all included full texts was done with the software MAXQDA. Full texts were analysed with regard to the content of interventions, didactic methods, mental disorders, cultural adaptation, type of outcome measure and primary outcomes. Furthermore, a methodological quality assessment was undertaken.
RESULTS: A total of nine studies from six countries (Brazil, China, Malaysia, Nigeria, Somaliland and Turkey) were included. All studies reported significant results in at least one outcome measure. However, from the available literature, it is difficult to draw conclusions on the most effective interventions. No meta-analysis could be calculated due to the large heterogeneity of intervention content, evaluation design and outcome measures. Studies with contact interventions (either face-to-face or video) demonstrated attitudinal change. There was a clear lack of studies focusing on discriminatory behaviours. Accordingly, training of specific communication and clinical skills was lacking in most studies, with the exception of one study that showed a positive effect of training interview skills on attitudes. Methods for cultural adaptation of interventions were rarely documented. The methodological quality of most studies was relatively low, with the exception of two studies.
CONCLUSIONS: There is an increase in studies on anti-stigma interventions among professional students in LMICs. Some of these studies used contact interventions and showed positive effects. A stronger focus on clinical and communication skills and behaviour-related outcomes is needed in future studies.
METHODS: A systematic process was followed in formulating the therapy and devising a treatment manual consistent with the principles of the Adaptation and Development After Persecution and Trauma (ADAPT) model. The process of development and refinement was based on qualitative research amongst 70 refugees (ten from West Papua and 60 Rohingya from Myanmar). The therapeutic process was then piloted by trained interventionists amongst a purposively selected sample of 20 Rohingya refugees in Malaysia.
RESULTS: The final formulation of IAT represented an integration of the principles of the ADAPT model and evidence-based techniques of modern therapies in the field, including a transdiagnostic approach and the selective use of cognitive behavioural treatment elements such as problem-solving and emotional regulation techniques. The steps outlined in refining the manual are outlined in relation to work amongst West Papuan refugees, and the process of cultural and contextual modifications described during early piloting with Rohingya refugees in Malaysia.
CONCLUSIONS: IAT integrates universal principles of the ADAPT model with the particularities of the culture, history of conflict and living context of each refugee community; this synthesis of knowledge forms the basis for participants gaining insights into their personal patterns of psychosocial adaptation to the refugee experience. Participants then apply evidence-based techniques to improve their capacity to adapt to the serial psychosocial changes they have encountered in their lives as refugees. The overarching goal of IAT is to provide refugees with a coherent framework that assists in making sense of their experiences and their emotional and interpersonal reactions to the challenges they confront within the family and community context. As such, the principles of a general model (ADAPT) are used as a springboard for making concrete, manageable and meaningful life changes at the individual level, a potentially novel approach for psychosocial interventions in the field.