Effectiveness of a Brief Group Behavioral Intervention for Common Mental Disorders in Syrian Refugees in Jordan: A Randomized Controlled Trial

This study examined the impact of Group Problem Management Plus (gPM+) on the mental health of refugees in a camp, as well as on parenting behavior and children’s mental health. Problem Management Plus (PM+) is an evidence-based, scalable psychological intervention that has been proven effective in treating mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress. The research team screened adult Syrian refugees in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, and subsequently randomized 410 adult refugees who displayed distress and impaired functioning to either five individual sessions of gPM+ or enhanced usual care (EUC). Independent assessments indicated that three months following treatment, refugees who received gPM+ reported significantly less depression but not anxiety, with a moderate effect relative to EUC. gPM+ also led to greater reductions in inconsistent disciplinary parenting, and this was associated with greater reductions in attentional and internalizing problems in refugees’ children. These findings suggest that mental health non-specialists can be briefly trained in gPM+, and they can deliver this intervention in a way that can improve the mental health of refugees.

Start Date:2017

End Date:2022

Partners: University of New South Wales
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Donors: European Commission (EC)

Publications: PLOS Medicine