The Effectiveness of Cultural Adjustment and Trauma Services (CATS): Generating Practice-Based Evidence on a Comprehensive, School-Based Mental Health Intervention for Immigrant Youth

Sarah Beehler, Dina Birman, Ruth Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

A collaborative study of Cultural Adjustment and Trauma Services (CATS), a comprehensive, school-based mental health program for traumatized immigrant children and adolescents, was conducted to generate practice-based evidence on the service delivery model across two school districts. Program effectiveness was assessed by testing whether client functioning and PTSD symptoms improved as a result of 7 separate service elements. An array of clinical services including CBT, supportive therapy, and coordinating services were provided to all students, and an evidence-based intervention for trauma, TF-CBT, was implemented with a subset of students. Greater quantities of CBT and supportive therapy increased functioning, while greater quantities of coordinating services decreased symptoms of PTSD. TF-CBT services were associated with both improved functioning and PTSD symptoms, although TF-CBT was implemented with fidelity to the overall comprehensive service model rather than the structured intervention model. Results suggest the comprehensive school-based model was effective, though different service components affected different student outcomes. Implications of these findings for immigrant mental health interventions and implementing structured evidence-based practices into community mental health programs are discussed. Suggestions are made for future research on existing mental health practices with immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-168
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Volume50
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank David Henry for advising on the data analytic strategy. The project was supported with grant funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (5U79SM057262).

Keywords

  • HLM
  • Immigrant
  • Mental health
  • Practice-based evidence
  • Refugee
  • School intervention

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