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Betancourt T.S.,Harvard University | Betancourt T.S.,Francois Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights | Newnham E.A.,Francois Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights | Newnham E.A.,University of Western Australia | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Adolescent Health | Year: 2012

Purpose: As we build the evidence base of interventions for depression among war-affected youth, it is critical to understand factors moderating treatment outcomes. The current study investigated how gender and history of abduction by Lord's Resistance Army rebels moderated treatment outcomes for war-affected youth. Methods: The study - a three-armed, randomized, controlled trial - was conducted with internally displaced war-affected adolescents in northern Uganda. Participants with significant depression symptoms (N = 304; 57% female; 14-17 years of age) were randomly assigned to an interpersonal psychotherapy group (IPT-G), a creative play/recreation group, or a wait-list control condition. Secondary analyses were conducted on data from this randomized controlled trial. Results: A history of abduction by Lord's Resistance Army rebels was reported by 42% of the sample. Gender and abduction history interacted to moderate the effectiveness of IPT-G for the treatment of depression. In the IPT-G intervention arm, treatment effectiveness was greatest among female subjects without an abduction history, with effect size = 1.06. IPT-G was effective for the treatment of depression for both male and female subjects with a history of abduction (effect size =.92 and.50, respectively). Male subjects with no abduction history in IPT-G showed no significant improvement compared with those in the control conditions. Conclusions: Abduction history and gender are potentially important moderators of treatment effects, suggesting that these factors need to be considered when providing interventions for war-affected youth. IPT-G may be an effective intervention for female subjects without an abduction history, as well as for both male and female former child soldiers, but less so for male subjects without an abduction history. © 2012 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Source

Betancourt T.S.,Harvard University | Yang F.,Harvard University | Yang F.,Georgia Regents University | Bolton P.,Center for Refugee and Disaster Response | Normand S.-L.,Harvard University
International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research | Year: 2014

This study aimed to refine a dimensional scale for measuring psychosocial adjustment in African youth using item response theory (IRT). A 60-item scale derived from qualitative data was administered to 667 war-affected adolescents (55% female). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) determined the dimensionality of items based on goodness-of-fit indices. Items with loadings less than 0.4 were dropped. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to confirm the scale's dimensionality found under the EFA. Item discrimination and difficulty were estimated using a graded response model for each subscale using weighted least squares means and variances. Predictive validity was examined through correlations between IRT scores (θ) for each subscale and ratings of functional impairment. All models were assessed using goodness-of-fit and comparative fit indices. Fisher's Information curves examined item precision at different underlying ranges of each trait. Original scale items were optimized and reconfigured into an empirically-robust 41-item scale, the African Youth Psychosocial Assessment (AYPA). Refined subscales assess internalizing and externalizing problems, prosocial attitudes/behaviors and somatic complaints without medical cause. The AYPA is a refined dimensional assessment of emotional and behavioral problems in African youth with good psychometric properties. Validation studies in other cultures are recommended. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Tierney D.,St John of God Frankston Rehabilitation Hospital | Bolton P.,Center for Refugee and Disaster Response | Matanu B.,Autonomous Region of Bougainville | Garasu L.,Nazareth Treatment Center | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Mental Health Systems | Year: 2016

Background: The Bougainville Crisis (1988-1997) was the largest armed conflict in the Pacific since WW-II. Despite this, there has been no assessment of the Mental Health and Psychosocial (MHPS) impact of the war. The aim of this paper is to summarize the available data regarding the longer-term MHPS impact of the Bougainville Crisis. Methods: A literature review and a sequence of consultations in Bougainville were conducted to identify the MHPS impact of the Bougainville Crisis and the capacity within Bougainville to address these issues. Results: The Bougainville Crisis resulted in violence-related deaths; the displacement of more than half of the population; widespread human rights abuses; far-reaching societal impacts including undermining of the traditional authority of elders and women and damage to cultural values and relationships; property damage and significant impacts on education and the economy. Conflict-related experiences continue to impact on mental health in the form of trauma-related symptoms, anger, complicated grief, alcohol and substance abuse, domestic violence including sexual assault, excessive alcohol use and a lack of engagement in purposeful activities. Other impacts include an increase in other forms of gender-based violence (including sexual assault), population displacement, and adverse trans-generational effects on children exposed to disturbed parental behaviours attributable to conflict exposure. In spite of the evident needs, there is limited capacity within Bougainville to address these pressing MHPS issues. Conclusions: The Bougainville Crisis has had a significant MHPS impact at multiple levels in the society. There is a strong interest within Bougainville to draw on external expertise to build local capacity to address MHPS issues. Preliminary recommendations are made to assist the process of building the capacity in Bougainville to address MHPS needs. © 2016 Tierney et al. Source

Smith J.,Johns Hopkins Hospital | Levy M.J.,Johns Hopkins Hospital | Hsu E.B.,Johns Hopkins Hospital | Hsu E.B.,Johns Hopkins University | And 3 more authors.
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine | Year: 2012

Introduction An understanding of disaster medicine and the health care system during mass-casualty events is vital to a successful disaster response, and has been recommended as an integral part of the medical curriculum by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). It has been documented that medical students do not believe that they have received adequate training for responding to disasters. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the inclusion of disaster medicine in the required course work of medical students at AAMC schools in the United States, and to identify the content areas addressed. Methods An electronic on-line survey was developed based upon published core competencies for health care workers, and distributed via e-mail to the education liaison for each medical school in the United States that was accredited by the AAMC. The survey included questions regarding the inclusion of disaster medicine in the medical school curricula, the type of instruction, and the content of instruction. Results Of the 29 (25.2%) medical schools that completed the survey, 31% incorporated disaster medicine into their medical school curricula. Of those schools that included disaster medicine in their curricula, 20.7% offered disaster material as required course work, and 17.2% offered it as elective course work. Disaster medicine topics provided at the highest frequency included pandemic influenza/severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, 27.5%), and principles of triage (10.3%). The disaster health competency included most frequently was the ability to recognize a potential critical event and implement actions at eight (27.5%) of the responding schools. Conclusions Only a small percentage of US medical schools currently include disaster medicine in their core curriculum, and even fewer medical schools have incorporated or adopted competency-based training within their disaster medicine lecture topics and curricula. > Smith J, Levy MJ, Hsu EB, Levy JL. © 2012 World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine. Source

Lee Y.H.,Korea University | Lee W.J.,Korea University | Kim Y.J.,Korea University | Cho M.J.,Korea University | And 6 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2012

Background: Understanding the health status of North Korean refugees (NKRs), and changes in health during the resettlement process, is important from both the humanitarian standpoint and the scientific perspective. The NOrth Korean Refugee health iN South Korea (NORNS) study aims to document the health status and health determinants of North Korean refugees, to observe various health outcomes as they occur while adapting to the westernized lifestyle of South Korea, and to explain the mechanisms of how health of migrants and refugees changes in the context of new environmental risks and opportunities. Methods. The NORNS study was composed of an initial survey and a follow-up survey 3.5 years apart. Participants were recruited voluntarily among those aged 30 or more living in Seoul. The survey consists of a health questionnaire and medical examination. The health questionnaire comprises the following six domains: 1) demographic and migration information 2) disease history, 3) mental health, 4) health-related lifestyle, 5) female reproductive health, and 6) sociocultural adaptation. The medical examination comprises anthropometric measurements, blood pressure and atherosclerosis, and various biochemical measurements. Prevalence of several diseases able to be diagnosed from the medical examination, the changes between the two surveys, and the association between the outcome and other measurements, such as length of stay and extent of adaptation in South Korea will be investigated. Furthermore, the outcome will be compared to a South Korean counterpart cohort to evaluate the relative health status of NKRs. Discussion. The NORNS study targeting adult NKRs in South Korea is a valuable study because various scales and medical measurements are employed for the first time. The results obtained from this study are expected to be utilized for developing a health policy for NKRs and North Korean people after unification. Additionally, since NKRs are an immigrant group who are the same race and have the same genetic characteristics as South Koreans, this study has the characteristics of a unique type of migrant health study. © 2012 Lee et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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