Family Empowerment (FAME) : study protocol for a pilot implementation and evaluation of a preventive multi-family programme for asylum-seeker families

Background: Families applying for asylum have often experienced multiple potentially traumatic events and continue to face stressors during their resettlement. Studies have indicated that traumatic events can negatively impact parenting behaviour and child development. A secondary preventive multi-family intervention programme, called Family Empowerment, was developed. Family Empowerment aims to strengthen parenting skills and prevent exacerbation of emotional problems in asylum-seeker families. This study protocol aims to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and potential effectiveness of Family Empowerment to reduce parental mental health problems and improve family functioning.

Methods: An uncontrolled pre-test-post-test design will be conducted, using a mixed-methods approach. Approximately 60 families living at asylum centres and family locations with children aged 0–18 will be included. All participants will be invited to take part in seven sessions of Family Empowerment. Measurements take place at baseline, during implementation of Family Empowerment and 1 week post-Family Empowerment. Demographic data, the quality of the parent-child interaction, family functioning, parental symptoms of depression and anxiety, and participants’ feedback on progress and the therapeutic alliance will be assessed. A programme integrity list will be filled out during each session. Semi-structured interviews at baseline and post-Family Empowerment will be used to evaluate Family Empowerment.

Discussion: This is the first study to provide a pilot implementation and evaluation of Family Empowerment. The current study will inform us on how to improve programme elements and the implementation of Family Empowerment. Limitations are discussed.

Trial registration: Dutch Trial Register, TC = NTR6934. Registered on January 8 2018.

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Carlijn M. van Es , Trudy Mooren, Marieke Zwaanswijk, Hans te Brake and Paul A. Boelen | 2019
In: Pilot and Feasibility Studies ISSN: 2055-5784 | 5 | 62
Asylum Seekers, Family Members, Family Therapy, Prevention, Stressors, Study Protocol