The importance of the family as a unit in the aftermath of trauma necessitates the use of family interventions among immigrants and refugees. While abundant clinical material suggests that family-based trauma interventions are applicable across cultures, very little is known about the extent to which family treatment modalities are effective for immigrants and refugees. We conducted a systematic review of intervention studies that have been designed or modified specifically for traumatized immigrant and refugee families. The terms trauma, family, and immigrants/refugees/culture were used along with different terms for intervention. Studies with no research methodology were excluded. Only 6 experimental studies met our inclusion criteria; 4 of them describe school-based interventions and 2 present multifamily support groups. The shortage of research in this area does not allow clear conclusions about the effectiveness of family interventions for traumatized immigrants or refugees. The complexity of employing methodologically rigorous research in small communities is discussed. Future trials should go beyond the individualistic approach and focus on posttraumatic stress disorder to address family-level processes, such as family relationship, communication, and resilience.
An important policy initiative implemented for the past 40 years in Canada, refugee private sponsorship has attracted international attention as Europe continues to grapple with