Background: Most refugees are less than 18 years and at heightened risk of common mental disorders (CMDs) relative to other youth. Limited evidence exists for psychosocial programsfor youth in low-resource settings. Early Adolescent Skills for Emotions (EASE) was developed by the World Health Organization to address this gap. Objectives: This study tested the safety, feasibility, and trial procedures of the EASE intervention among Syrian refugee youth in preparation for a definitive randomized controlled trial (RCT). Methods: A feasibility RCT was conducted in Amman, Jordan with Syrian children aged 10–14 years who reported psychological distress. Following community screening, youth and their caregivers were randomized to receive either the EASE intervention or enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU). EASE comprised seven group sessions teaching children coping skills, and caregivers received three group sessions to augment the youth sessions. Assessments were conducted at baseline and 1 week following the last EASE session (8 weeks following baseline). Following the trial, a qualitative process evaluation with staff and beneficiaries took place. Primary outcomes were safety and feasibility indicators, and distress was measured by the Paediatric Symptom Checklist. Results: In November 2018, 179 children were screened; 61 (33%) met criteria for distress (34.1%), two were excluded for suicidal risk, and 59 were randomized (EASE = 33, ETAU = 26). Of those who received EASE, 26 children (79%) completed the intervention. Group attendance was high and no adverse events were reported in either arm. Psychological distress did not show signs of abating in either group over time. Conclusion: This feasibility trial demonstrated the safety and acceptability of the intervention. Important lessons were learnt regarding entry criteria into the study and engagement of caregivers in the intervention. A fully powered randomized controlled trial will be conducted to evaluate the efficacy of EASE.
|Translated title of the contribution||Feasibility trial of a brief scalable psychological intervention for Syrian refugee adolescents in Jordan|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||European Journal of Psychotraumatology|
|Early online date||29 Nov 2021|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Programme .
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- mental health
- psychological intervention
- psychosocial support