Purpose – The aim of this paper is to design and pilot test a culturally tailored intervention that meets the support needs and preferences of two refugee groups. Design/methodology/approach – The study employed a multi‐method participatory research design and was conducted in two urban centres in western and central Canada. Support was delivered to Sudanese and Somali refugees ( n =58), by trained peer and professional helpers, in face‐to‐face groups matched by gender and ethnicity and in telephone dyads. Participants completed three quantitative measures before (pre‐test) and following (post‐test) the intervention. Group interviews with refugee participants and individual interviews with peer and professional helpers conducted at post‐test, elicited qualitative data on perceived impacts and factors influencing impacts of the intervention. Service providers and policy influencers ( n =22) were interviewed in groups about the implications of this intervention study for services, programs and policies. Findings – There were significant increases in perceived support and social integration and significant decreases in loneliness following the intervention. Participants reported that they learned how to seek services and supports and how to cope with challenges faced by refugees. Service providers and policy influencers were impressed by the success of the intervention. Originality/value – No peer support intervention studies focused on the unique support needs of African refugees have been reported. This pilot intervention study demonstrates the supportive power of like‐ethnic peers and could guide subsequent community‐based intervention trials and the design of culturally appropriate health‐related programs.
Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 17, 2011
Keywords: Refugees; Social support; Intervention; Impacts; Social groups; Ethnic minorities; Canada; Social problems; Social inclusion