Group intervention for university students who are Internally Displaced Persons

Elsevier, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 91, 2022
Khadeejah Ahmad, Hidna Iqbal

The present study adapted and assessed the efficacy of a brief psychological group intervention, the STAR program: Strengths, Transitions, Adjustments and Resilience for university students who are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Within groups research design was used in the study. Non-probability snowball sampling technique was used to select the sample which comprised of 11 IDP students studying in different universities of Punjab with age range 19–24 years. It was hypothesized that undergoing the group intervention would increase coping self-efficacy, social self-efficacy and psychological adjustment and decrease emotional distress (depression, anxiety, stress) of the participants. Initial screening was done in which participants having moderate or high levels of anxiety, depression or stress were selected. The intervention comprised of 6 online sessions, given twice a week. The intervention was cognitive-behavioural in nature including group activities and homework activities. Pre and post-assessment was done in which participants had to complete measures on coping and social self-efficacy, emotional distress and psychological adjustment. Results showed that participants’ depression and anxiety decreased significantly from pre to post-intervention level. There was also a significant increase in social self-efficacy of participants after receiving the intervention. However, no significant increases in coping self-efficacy or psychological adjustment were observed. The feedback gathered from the participants provided suggestions for further modifications, after which this program could be adopted by different universities and offered to the IDP students to enhance their acculturation and help them assimilate into their host communities more easily. Overall, the group intervention revealed promising findings that require further investigation.