The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Reducing Stress, Anxiety, and Depressive Symptoms via a Family-Centered Preventative Intervention for Immigrants

Date Funded: 
Jun 1, 2020
Funding Organization: 
National Institutes of Health

Dr Kalpana Poudel-Tandukar's three-year National Institutes of Health R34 grant, funded through the National Institute of Mental Health, will test the effectiveness of a preventative behavioral intervention within a Bhutanese community in Western Massachusetts with the aim of scaling this up for use within other immigrant populations to reduce stress and mental health disorders.

Immigrants living in the United States are more vulnerable to mental health problems than the general population, and mental health disorders top the list of the most costly medical conditions. Stress associated with attempts to integrate into a new culture, combined with social isolation and limited communication, is linked to mental health outcomes among immigrants. Existing mental health interventions for immigrants are largely based on treatment models to improve the access and quality of care for those with diagnosed mental health problems; however, culturally tailored preventative behavioral interventions aimed at reducing stress among immigrants are limited. For prevention, culturally-tailored interventions that address psycho-socio-cultural stressors hold the most promise. Consequently, the objectives of this research project are: a) to adapt and culturally modify Problem Management Plus (PMP), an evidence-based intervention developed by World Health Organization, to develop Problem Management Plus for Immigrants (PMP-I) as a family-based preventative intervention and b) to test the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes (stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms) of PMP-I with trained community facilitators.

At the completion of this project, the research team will have developed and pilot tested family-based preventative mental health intervention for immigrants. Achieving this aim will have a significant positive impact on improving the mental health of immigrants and their families and will also empower the community to take a leading role in this process.