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Nilsson, H., Saboonchi, F., Gustavsson, C., Malm, A. & Gottvall, M. (2019). Trauma-afflicted refugees' experiences of participating in physical activity and exercise treatment: a qualitative study based on focus group discussions. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10(1), Article ID 1699327.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Trauma-afflicted refugees' experiences of participating in physical activity and exercise treatment: a qualitative study based on focus group discussions
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2019 (English)In: European Journal of Psychotraumatology, ISSN 2000-8066, E-ISSN 2000-8066, Vol. 10, no 1, article id 1699327Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Refugees with prolonged and repeated experiences of trauma, often in combination with post-migration living difficulties, are subjected to severe levels of stress and stress-related ill health, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Physical activity (PA) is well-established as an effective stress reliever. However, the effect of PA and exercise has received scarce attention in the context of PTSD, and particularly in the field of refugees' health.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the experience of participation in PA and exercise as part of the treatment for trauma-afflicted refugees.

Method: An explorative qualitative research design was used. Six focus group discussions were conducted with 33 female and male participants that had experience of group-based PA and exercise treatment. The gathered data was analysed by qualitative content analysis.

Results: The analysis resulted in one over-arching theme reflecting the participants overall experience of PA and exercise as a process of building resilience. Participants experienced improvements in both physical and mental health domains. Increased self-awareness and self-confidence were seen as additional important benefits, and the interruption of daily stressors provided a sense of relief and recovery. The treatment group settings were experienced as becoming a vehicle for overcoming social fear and isolation, which also carried an empowering and strength-building impact over to participants' family life and social relationships. Treatment characteristics were experienced as highly supportive and often referred to as the basis of other positive experiences and perceived health benefits.

Conclusions: The result of this study outlines a detailed account of trauma-afflicted refugees' experiences and preferences of PA and exercise-based treatment from a broad range of perspectives. These findings provide a starting point for future research in this field and indicate a particular need for both research and intervention development to include the real-life impact of participating in such treatments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2019
Keywords
PTSD, Physical activity, exercise, group-based treatment, mental health, physiotherapy, post-migration stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, refugee, trauma
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-3121 (URN)10.1080/20008198.2019.1699327 (DOI)31853335 (PubMedID)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2016-00426
Available from: 2020-01-03 Created: 2020-01-03 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved
Sigvardsdotter, E., Nilsson, H., Malm, A., Tinghög, P., Gottvall, M., Vaez, M. & Saboonchi, F. (2017). Development and Preliminary Validation of Refugee Trauma History Checklist (RTHC)-A Brief Checklist for Survey Studies. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(10), Article ID 1175.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development and Preliminary Validation of Refugee Trauma History Checklist (RTHC)-A Brief Checklist for Survey Studies
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2017 (English)In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 14, no 10, article id 1175Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A high proportion of refugees have been subjected to potentially traumatic experiences (PTEs), including torture. PTEs, and torture in particular, are powerful predictors of mental ill health. This paper reports the development and preliminary validation of a brief refugee trauma checklist applicable for survey studies.

METHODS: A pool of 232 items was generated based on pre-existing instruments. Conceptualization, item selection and item refinement was conducted based on existing literature and in collaboration with experts. Ten cognitive interviews using a Think Aloud Protocol (TAP) were performed in a clinical setting, and field testing of the proposed checklist was performed in a total sample of n = 137 asylum seekers from Syria.

RESULTS: The proposed refugee trauma history checklist (RTHC) consists of 2 × 8 items, concerning PTEs that occurred before and during the respondents' flight, respectively. Results show low item non-response and adequate psychometric properties Conclusion: RTHC is a usable tool for providing self-report data on refugee trauma history surveys of community samples. The core set of included events can be augmented and slight modifications can be applied to RTHC for use also in other refugee populations and settings.

Keywords
population study, refugees, self-report instrument, trauma, trauma checklist
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-2450 (URN)10.3390/ijerph14101175 (DOI)28976937 (PubMedID)
Funder
Swedish Red CrossForte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2016-07194
Available from: 2017-10-05 Created: 2017-10-05 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0003-4842-1683

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