Managing chronic pain in survivors of torture

Amris K, Williams AC. Pain Manag. 2015;5(1):5-12. 

All generalist and specialist clinicians are likely to encounter torture survivors among refugees and asylum seekers. A minority of people survive torture and a smaller minority reach a developed country; those who do tend to be the more resilient and resourceful. They have many health, social and welfare problems; persistent pain in the musculoskeletal system is one of the most common. There is little specific evidence on pain in survivors of torture; the guidelines on interdisciplinary specialist management are applicable.

Psychological, social and welfare interventions for psychological health and well-being of torture survivors

Patel N, Kellezi B, Williams ACDC. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 11. 

This article is a systematic literature review, assessing the beneficial and adverse effects of psychological, social and welfare interventions for torture survivors, and comparing these effects with those reported by active and inactive controls.

Nine RCTs were included in this review. All were of psychological interventions; none provided social or welfare interventions. The nine trials provided data for 507 adults; none involved children or adolescents.

Knowledge and quality of life in female torture survivors

Pabilonia W, Combs SP, Cook PF. Torture. 2010;20(1):4-22.

Immigrant women represent disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the torture survivor population.They tend to be isolated and have negative coping strategies resulting in poor health and well-being. The purpose of this pilot study is to develop and evaluate an educational and interactive women's health-based programme using health promotion and empowerment strategies, with the intent of using the knowledge gained to contribute to an ongoing women's health programme.

Little is currently known about health-based interventions for the

Socio-demographic and dietary factors associated with excess body weight and abdominal obesity among resettled Bhutanese refugee women in Northeast Ohio, United States

Bhatta MP, Assad L, Shakya S. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Jun 25;11(7):6639-52. 

Studies of obesity and related health conditions among the Bhutanese, one of the largest refugee groups resettled in the United States in the past five years, are limited. This study examined the factors associated with excess body weight (body mass index ≥ 23 kg/m2) and abdominal obesity (waist circumference > 80 cm) in a community-based sample of 18-65 year old Bhutanese refugee women in Northeast Ohio. A Nepali-language questionnaire was used to measure socio-demographic and dietary factors.

Intergenerational differences in acculturation experiences, food beliefs and perceived health risks among refugees from the Horn of Africa in Melbourne, Australia

Wilson A, Renzaho A. Public Health Nutr. 2015 Jan;18(1):176-88. 

This study investigates the differences in acculturation experiences between parent and adolescent refugees from the Horn of Africa in Melbourne, Australia and explores food beliefs and perceived health risks from an intergenerational perspective. Eritrean, Ethiopian, Somali and Sudanese refugees were studied.

Qualitative analysis identified differences between parents and adolescents in relation to lifestyle, diet and physical activity. Views regarding health consequences of their changed diets also differed.

What changes upon resettlement: understanding difference in pre- and post-resettlement dietary habits among South-Asian refugees

Dharod JM. Ecol Food Nutr. 2015;54(3):209-23. 

This study was conducted with the Montagnard (or Degar) refugee women (n = 42) to understand their pre-resettlement living conditions and estimate pre- and post-resettlement differences in their intake of major food groups. In-depth interviews were conducted with the participants in their homes by multilingual Montagnard women fluent in English and their tribal languages. Most of the participants did not receive education and 39% reported household incomes of $500 or less per month.

Health status and health needs of older refugees from Syria in Lebanon

Strong J, Varady C, Chahda N, Doocy S, Burnham G. Confl Health. 2015 Apr 9;9:12. 

The flight of Syrian and Palestinian families into Lebanon from Syria included a number of older refugees. This study sought to characterize the physical and emotional conditions, dietary habits, coping practices, and living conditions of this elderly population arriving in Lebanon between March 2011 and March 2013.

Two-thirds of older refugees described their health status as poor or very poor.

Environmental, Nutrition and Health Issues in a US Refugee Resettlement Community

Lauren Sastre MS and Lauren Haldeman PhD. MEDICC Review, October 2015, Vol 17, No 4

In 2012, North Carolina ranked in the top ten states in refugee resettlement, with central Guilford County one of the most diverse in the southeast. This study examined the local resettlement environmental, nutrition and health barriers and needs of refugees in Guilford County, as perceived by individuals providing services to them. Perceptions were consistent across participants regarding a diverse local refugee population.

Pre- and Post-displacement Stressors and Body Weight Development in Iraqi Refugees in Michigan

K.-L. Catherine Jen and Kequan Zhou. J Immigr Minor Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 Oct 1.

Refugees have typically experienced stress and trauma before entering the US. Stressors and mental health disorders may contribute to obesity. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in the body mass index (BMI) in Iraqi refugees settled in Michigan in relationship to pre- and post-migration stressors and mental health. Anthropometric and demographic data were collected from 290 Iraqi refugees immediately after they arrived in Michigan and one year after settlement.

Long-Term Refugee Health: Health Behaviors and Outcomes of Cambodian Refugee and Immigrant Women

Nelson-Peterman JL, Toof R, Liang SL, Grigg-Saito DC. Health Educ Behav. 2015 Dec;42(6):814-23. 

Refugees in the United States have high rates of chronic disease. Both long-term effects of the refugee experience and adjustment to the U.S. health environment may contribute. While there is significant research on health outcomes of newly resettled refugees and long-term mental health experiences of established refugees, there is currently little information about how the combined effects of the refugee experience and the U.S.

Chronic Health Conditions, Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviors of Bhutanese Refugees: A Houston-Based Needs Assessment

Misra SM, Nepal VP, Banerjee D, Giardino AP. Journal of Immigrant Health. 2016 Dec;18(6):1423-1431.

Bhutanese refugees resettling in the U.S. face many challenges including several related to health and health care. Limited health literacy and the relatively complicated US health care system may contribute to health disparities as well. A health assessment was conducted on adult refugees in Houston, Texas to provide healthcare providers, community organizations, and stakeholders baseline data to plan programs and interventions.

A Congolese-US participatory action research partnership to rebuild the lives of rape survivors and their families in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Glass N(1), Ramazani P, Tosha M, Mpanano M, Cinyabuguma M. Glob Public Health. 2012;7(2):184-95. 

Link is to abstract; full article available for purchase.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains an all-too-potent reminder of how war, human rights violations and their related health and economic impacts can devastate a society. The last decade has seen the use of rape as a weapon of war in the DRC, where rebels and soldiers subject women and girls to brutalising attacks, rape, torture and mutilation.


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