Session: Beyond the Trauma Paradigm: Conceptualizing Interventions to Strengthen Social and Community Resources for Populations Impacted By Conflict and Forced Migration (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

166 Beyond the Trauma Paradigm: Conceptualizing Interventions to Strengthen Social and Community Resources for Populations Impacted By Conflict and Forced Migration

Thursday, January 21, 2021: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Cluster: International Social Work & Global Issues
Symposium Organizer:
Mary Bunn, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
Joanne Corbin, PhD, Smith College
Background and Purpose The impact of conflict and political terror on individuals, families and communities is an escalating global reality with one in seven individuals living in conflict-affected countries and more than 65 million forcibly displaced from their homes worldwide. In addition to the long-term economic, safety, and legal vulnerabilities resulting from such experiences, armed conflict and forced migration can generate psychological, interpersonal and social problems. While a number of psychotherapies have demonstrated positive effects on the mitigation of individual mental health problems, the impact and repair of social-relational consequences of war and forced displacement remain significant gaps in social work research and practice.

Drawing on four research projects, this symposium examines the role of families, social groups and communities as sites of potential resources important for adaptation and survival under dire circumstances. To investigate these questions, the presenters draw from a variety of methods (grounded theory, thematic analysis, scoping review, multi-level analysis) and center the experiences of survivors of war and conflict in low- and middle-income countries, as well as the U.S. The first paper presents a conceptual model of the social-relational and place-based consequences of war and forced migration among Syrian refugees in Jordan, highlighting the implications of such a model for intervention development. The second paper shares findings from an early childhood development family strengthening intervention for war-affected families in Rwanda on child and caregiver outcomes as well as lessons learned when moving from an effectiveness trial to a government supported program. The third and fourth papers shift the focus to war-affected individuals and families who resettled to the U.S. as refugees, examining the role that diverse interventions can play in repairing and strengthening relationships. This includes findings from a scoping review of social support interventions for refugees in the U.S and a participatory evaluation study of a trauma-informed care workshop with mental health professionals and refugee leaders.

Drawing on her own research, the discussant will illuminate themes that arise from the presentations and identify challenges and opportunities for social work scholarship and practice moving forward. Although social work research in this area has been relatively nascent, the discipline is poised to play a larger role in scholarship concerned with the multi-level impacts of armed conflict and forced migration. By leveraging its differential focus on marginalized groups and person-in-environment ethos, social work must advance a research and practice agenda that broadens understanding of the multi-faceted consequences of war and forced migration while also identifying meaningful opportunities for support and intervention.  

* noted as presenting author
Ambiguous Loss of Home: The Social-Relational and Place-Based Consequences of War and Forced Migration for Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Mary Bunn, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago; Gina Samuels, PhD, University of Chicago
Using Home Visiting to Support Early Childhood Development in Rwanda: Moving the Sugira Muryango Family Strengthening Intervention from Effectiveness to Expansion
Jordan Farrar, PhD, Boston College; Shauna Murray, MA, Boston College; Sarah Jensen, PhD, Boston College; Robert Brennan, EdD, Boston College; Theresa Betancourt, ScD, Boston College
A Scoping Review of Social Support Interventions with Refugees in Resettlement Contexts: Implications for Practice and Applied Research
Karin Wachter, PhD, Arizona State University; Jessica Dalpe, MSW, International Rescue Commitee; Annie Bonz, HIAS; Hayley Drozdowski, NA; Janice Hermer, Arizona State University
Building Multi-Tier Mental Health and Psychosocial Supports in the Community: Towards Trauma-Informed and Culture-Informed Care for Refugees in the U.S
Hyojin Im, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University; Lauren Swan, MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University
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