Impacts of a Support Intervention for Zimbabwean and Sudanese Refugee Parents: "I Am Not Alone"

Miriam Stewart, Edward Makwarimba, Nicole L. Letourneau, Kaysi Eastlick Kushner, Denise L. Spitzer, Cindy-Lee Dennis, Edward Shizha


Knowledge about the beneficial effects of social support has not been used to systematically develop and evaluate interventions to help refugee new parents cope. The purpose of this study was to design and evaluate a social support intervention for refugee new parents. A multi-method research design was used and participatory research strategies were employed. Qualitative and quantitative measures were used to understand experiences of participants and to assess the perceived psychosocial and health-related outcomes of the intervention. Mentored support groups, matched by gender and ethnicity, met biweekly over 7 months. The participants were 48 Sudanese and 37 Zimbabwean refugee parents in 2 Canadian provinces. Increases were found in informational support, spousal support, community engagement, coping, and support-seeking. Decreases were found in parenting stress, loneliness, and isolation. The authors conclude that there is a need for culturally appropriate nursing practices and programs for refugee new parents from diverse cultures.

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