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Effects of Six Months of Well-Being Coaching and Mind-Body Interventions among Refugees in Sweden

Conference paper
Authors Danilo Garcia
Kevin M. Cloninger
Nigel Lester
C. Robert Cloninger
Published in XXXII International Congress of Psychology, Prague, Czech Republic.
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Well-Being Coaching, Refugees, Personality, Mind-Body Interventions.
Subject categories Psychology


Background Research shows that there is a high prevalence of trauma-related disorders among refugees. Nevertheless, about 66.40% of refugees never reveal their traumatic experiences to a doctor and a majority refuse psychiatric help (Holmström, 2015). We evaluated the health effects of Well-Being Coaching and Mind-Body interventions (i.e., modern version of age-old Spa interventions) on Swedish Refugees. Method A total of 70 refugees, mostly from Syria, underwent the 6-month intervention. At both the beginning and the end of the intervention, participants responded to measures of personality (e.g., temperament and character), well-being (e.g., affect, life satisfaction) and ill-being (e.g., defeat and entrapment, and anxiety and depression). Results At baseline, the refugees showed relatively good levels of well-being, but high levels of anxiety and depression. After the intervention, we found significant reductions in Harm Avoidance (Cohen’s d = 0.39), Defeat (Cohen’s d = 0.55), Internal Entrapment (Cohen’s d = 0.47), and Anxiety (Cohen’s d = 0.42). In addition, we found significant increases in Self-Directedness (Cohen’s d = 0.28) and positive affect (Cohen’s d = 0.40). Conclusions: The six-month intervention succeeded in helping refugees regulate their nervous system, expressed by the temperament trait of Harm Avoidance as fear of uncertainty, quick fatigability, and pessimistic worry about future problems. In addition, negative cognitions like feeling defeated and entrapped in life and anxiety symptoms were reduced after the intervention. Last but not the least, the positive affect of refugees increased as measured by self-determination, self-sufficiency, self-acceptance, and a sense of responsibility (i.e., the character trait of Self-Directedness).

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