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Psychology in the Schools





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There are thousands of refugee students in Canadian schools and many struggle with distress and trauma symptoms. Even those not demonstrating overt distress may face adjustment challenges. This paper describes the pilot of the Supporting Transition Resilience of Newcomer Groups (STRONG) program in ten schools. STRONG is a 10-session, manualized program focused on building skills and helping students process their migration journey. This pilot used a pragmatic mixed-methods approach to evaluate the feasibility of STRONG, with a focus on acceptability, implementation, and perceived utility of the intervention. Clinicians (n = 16) provided data at the training, throughout the intervention and at the end through clinician surveys and focus groups. Clinicians reported high levels of acceptability for the training and program. Implementation challenges included time constraints, external influences, and some challenges with language. Overall STRONG was seen to provide significant positive benefits for students in increasing connectedness, stress management, and coping strategies. Clinicians felt that students developed more positive self-image and had improved optimism. This feasibility trial of the STRONG program indicated the potential utility for promoting resilience and reducing distress among refugee students through a structured, school-based group intervention.

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Crooks, C. V., Hoover, S., & Smith, A. (2020). Feasibility trial of the school-based STRONG intervention to promote resilience among newcomer youth. Psychology in the Schools.

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