Master of Arts
This study investigated the feasibility of a resilience focused intervention, Supporting Transition Resilience of Newcomer Groups (STRONG), within a university teaching clinic. STRONG aims to enhance resilience, teach coping-skills, and foster a sense of belongingness among newcomer youth. Using a qualitative approach, focus groups were performed with youth (n = 7), parents (n = 5), and clinicians (n = 5) exploring program impacts and implementation experiences. The results support the feasibility, utility, and acceptability of STRONG within this setting. Youth reported to enjoy and benefit from participating in STRONG. Parents reported observed growth in their child as a result of STRONG, and they emphasized the need for additional parent supports. Benefits for clinicians in terms of professional development were noted. Findings from this study may guide future research on STRONG for program improvement, and they may also inform mental health programming for newcomer youth within children’s mental health clinic settings.
Summary for Lay Audience
Immigrant and refugee youth may face various risk factors and potential adversities pre-migration, during their migration journey, and post-migration. This may include war, separation from loved ones, racism, and discrimination. Repeated exposure to adversity may place newcomer youth at an increased risk of developing mental health concerns, however, research has shown that newcomers possess many personal strengths and resilience. It is important to provide newcomer youth with culturally responsive mental health interventions early within the resettlement process, to help provide support and foster resilience. This study investigated the feasibility of implementing a resilience focused intervention for newcomer youth, Supporting Transition Resilience of Newcomer Groups (STRONG), within a university teaching clinic. STRONG is a manualized intervention aimed at enhancing resilience, teaching coping-skills, and fostering a sense of belongingness among newcomer youth. Employing a qualitative approach, youth impacts, parental perceptions, and clinician experiences participating in STRONG were explored in this study. Youth (n = 7), parents (n = 5), and clinicians (n = 5) participated in semi-structured interviews in order to gauge their perspectives. The results of the study support the feasibility, utility, and acceptability of implementing the STRONG program within a children’s mental health clinic. Youth reported to both enjoy and benefit from participating in STRONG, which gave them a space to learn new skills and strengthen connections to peers during a global pandemic. Parents observed growth in their child's social skills, confidence, and use of strategies to deal with distressing emotions. Parents also emphasized the need for additional parent supports and opportunities for parental consultation within the program. Clinicians reported experiencing benefits regarding personal development and access to supervision, wherein they reported growth in their knowledge and skills to support newcomer groups. Findings from this study may guide and inform future research on STRONG for program improvement and growth, and they may also have important implications for mental health programming for newcomer youth within children’s mental health clinic settings.
Schilling, Nicole Anne, "Feasibility of STRONG in a University Teaching Clinic: Youth Impacts, Parental Perceptions, and Clinician Experiences" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8566.