Psychosocial mechanisms of change in symptoms of Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder amongst refugees from Myanmar over the course of Integrative Adapt Therapy

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Alvin Kuowei Tay, Hau Khat Mung, Mohammad Badrudduza, Susheela Balasundaram, Darlina Fadil Azim, Nur Arfah Zaini, Karen Morgan, Mohammed Mohsin


Background: The ability to adapt to the psychosocial disruptions associated with the refugee experience may influence the course of complicated grief reactions.

Objective: We examine these relationships amongst Myanmar refugees relocated to Malaysia who participated in a six-week course of Integrative Adapt Therapy (IAT).

Method: Participants (n = 170) included Rohingya, Chin, and Kachin refugees relocated to Malaysia. At baseline and six-week post-treatment, we applied culturally adapted measures to assess symptoms of Prolonged Complex Bereavement Disorder (PCBD) and adaptive capacity to psychosocial disruptions, based on the Adaptive Stress Index (ASI). The ASI comprises five sub-scales of safety/security (ASI-1); bonds and networks (ASI-2); injustice (ASI-3); roles and identity (ASI-4); and existential meaning (ASI-5).

Results: Multilevel linear models indicated that the relationship between baseline and posttreatment PCBD symptoms was mediated by the ASI scale scores. Further, ASI scale scores assessed posttreatment mediated the relationship between baseline and posttreatment PCBD symptoms. Mediation of PCBD change was greatest for the ASI II scale representing disrupted bonds and networks.

Conclusion: Our findings are consistent with the informing model of IAT in demonstrating that changes in adaptive capacity, and especially in dealing with disrupted bonds and networks, may mediate the process of symptom improvement over the course of therapy.

Received 08 May 2020, Accepted 03 Jul 2020, Published online: 16 Sep 2020

© 2022 NTVP - All Rights Reserved