Project

Well-Being Coaching and Integration in Sweden

Goal: Our aim is to investigate the effect of interventions on the well-being of refugees in Blekinge Sweden. The interventions aim to improve physical, psychological, and social well-being among this specific population in the county of Blekinge, Sweden. This project is funded by the European Social Fund, Region Blekinge, and Anthropedia.

The project is under the program Sustainable Personal Development (https://www.researchgate.net/project/Sustainable-Personal-Development)

Date: 1 May 2017 - 31 August 2019

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Danilo Garcia
added a research item
Background: Migration is one of the major challenges of the 21st century with many refugees being victims of torture and experiencing war and the collapse of their society. Sweden, for example, received about 169,520 refugees during 2015 and 20–30% of them were estimated to suffer from mental illness. Nevertheless, research shows that about 66.40% of refugees never reveal their traumatic experiences to a doctor and a majority refuse psychiatric help. Hence, we need innovative methods to promote the physical, mental, and social health of refugees. Objective: We examined the effects of Anthropedia’s Well-Being Coaching (i.e., a biopsychosocial approach to coaching) and Well-Being Spa (i.e., modern version of age-old Spa interventions) on the personality and health of a sample of refugees living in Sweden. Methodology: Participants were recruited as part of a health and employment project in Blekinge, Sweden. A total of 70 Syrian refugees were randomly assigned to a six-month intervention comprising either Well-Being Coaching, or Well-Being Spa, or both (i.e., Mind–Body). The participants reported personality (temperament and character), well-being (positive and negative affect, life satisfaction, and harmony in life), and ill-being (defeat and entrapment, and anxiety and depression) at the beginning and at the end of the six-month intervention period. Results: Participants assigned to the Well-Being Coaching intervention showed increases in self-directedness (Cohen’s d = 0.84), cooperativeness (Cohen’s d = 0.36), positive affect (Cohen’s d = 0.43), and life satisfaction (Cohen’s d = 0.56), and decreases in both negative affect (Cohen’s d = 0.38) and defeat (Cohen’s d = 0.89). Participants assigned to the Well-Being Spa intervention showed decreases in harm avoidance (Cohen’s d = 0.55), reward dependence (Cohen’s d = 0.69), negative affect (Cohen’s d = 0.82), anxiety (Cohen’s d = 0.53), defeat (Cohen’s d = 0.34), and external entrapment (Cohen’s d = 0.42). Participants assigned to the Mind–Body intervention showed significant decreases in harm avoidance (Cohen’s d = 0.47), anxiety (Cohen’s d = 0.61), depression (Cohen’s d = 0.34), defeat (Cohen’s d = 0.56), external entrapment (Cohen’s d = 0.44), and internal entrapment (Cohen’s d = 0.79) and increases in persistence (Cohen’s d = 0.27), self-directedness (Cohen’s d = 0.28), cooperativeness (Cohen’s d = 0.43), self-transcendence (Cohen’s d = 0.51), positive affect (Cohen’s d = 0.42), and harmony in life (Cohen’s d = 0.36). Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that Well-Being Coaching strengthens refugees’ character, while the Well-Being Spa treatments reduced participants’ tendency to worry and anxiety. Finally, the combination of these two interventions seems to promote the development of health-related traits, reduce ill-health, and stress, and increase well-being in a wider biopsychosocial perspective.
Danilo Garcia
added a research item
We evaluated the effects of Anthropedia’s Well-Being Coaching and Mind-Body interventions (i.e., modern version of age-old Spa interventions) on health among a sample of refugees living in Sweden. While each intervention increased well-being and reduced ill-being respectively, the combination had a wider biopsychosocial effect on health.
Danilo Garcia
added a research item
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).
Danilo Garcia
added an update
Media missed the point a bit, but I guess that all attention is good attention...? Besides 6 well-being coaches we got 11 who got jobs after Anthropedia's Well-Being Coaching training and about 60 who are being coached and/or attending to health activities organized by Anthropedia (https://anthropedia.org) in collaboration with Region Blekinge in Karlskrona....more about the research results coming soon this year!
 
Danilo Garcia
added an update
Presenting our work on health promotion among newcomers in Blekinge (i.e., Anthropedia's Well-Being Coaching and Physiological Well-Being Promotion Activities) for the board of directors of the International College of Person-Centered Medicine and also representants of the World Health Organisation in Geneva! What we do in Blekinge is certainly innovative even in international standards. Thanks to funding from the European Social Fund and in collaboration with the Swedish Public Employment Services. Go Blekinge!
 
Danilo Garcia
added a research item
BACKGROUND: Sweden received 169,520 refugees during 2015 (UNHCR, 2015), many of them are victims of torture and all of them experienced war and the collapse of their society. Accordingly, there is a high prevalence of trauma-related disorders among refugees, including post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and etc. Nevertheless, based on earlier research, about 66.40% of refugees never reveal their traumatic experiences to a doctor and a majority refuse psychiatric help (Holmström, 2015). AIM: We evaluate the effect of Anthropedia’s Well-Being Coaching on refugees’ personal development, well-being, and integration in the job market. The whole project was conducted in Blekinge, Sweden, and founded by the European Social Fund and Region Blekinge. METHOD: The project involves 11 refugees who underwent the 1-year Anthropedia Well-Being Coaching training (i.e., coaches) and about 45 refugees who are currently being coached for a 6-month period in their native language, mostly Arabic. All participants were unemployed at the start of the project and answered to the Temperament and Character Inventory, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, and the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule. The refugees receiving coaching (i.e., coachees) answered also to the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. RESULTS: A total of 7 coaches (63.63%) got jobs or started university studies during or after their training year and showed increases in character (i.e., self-acceptance, empathy and moral reasoning, and self-transcendence) and subjective well- being (i.e., increases in positive affect and life satisfaction along decreases in negative affect). At baseline, the coachees showed relatively good levels of subjective well-being, but high levels of anxiety and depression and 100% unemployment. CONCLUSIONS: Anthropedia’s 1-year training increases subjective well-being and develops character among the coaches. Since the actual coaching is one-on-one, we expect the effect on well-being, character, and employability to be even greater for the coachees.
Danilo Garcia
added a research item
Our aim was to evaluate the effect of a 10-week training program on biophysiological measures among a sample of refugees in Sweden, mostly from Syria. The analyses suggested that physical activity increased the overall maximum aerobic fitness together with body composition (e.g., skeletal muscle mass), whereas body fat decreased.
Danilo Garcia
added a research item
Background: During 2015, 162,877 people sought asylum in Sweden [1]. The asylum period, which in some cases may last for several years, may impair the physical, mental and social health of individuals, most likely because this period may lead to inactivity; which might increase the effects of trauma or other mental health problems. In this context, physical inactivity is now identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality [2]. For instance, the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden [3] estimates that 20-30% of the asylum seekers and refugees suffer from mental illness. A comprehensive meta-analysis from 2015 shows that physical activity is an intervention associated with significant improvements in mental health [4]. Further, results from cross-sectional studies as well as a literature review show that physical activity is associated with better health and that physical activity may reduce the risk of non-communicable disease and premature death [2]. Despite of all these evidence, to the best of our knowledge, there are no studies investigating the effects of training programs on refugee or newcomer populations. Aim: Our aim was to evaluate the effect on mental health of a 10-week training program among a small sample of newcomers, mostly originally from Syria. Method: Participants (33 men, 18 women) answered to the Short Character Inventory [5] and the Satisfaction with Life Scale [6] at the start and at the end of the 10-week training program. Results: Self-directedness, Cooperativeness, and Life Satisfaction had neither increased nor decreased after the physical intervention. Self-transcendence, however, had significantly increased after the intervention (F (1,50) = 7.04, p <.05, partial ƞ2 = 0.12, observed power = 0.74). Worth noticing is that this effect was larger among the women who participated in the intervention. Conclusions: Character is defined as individual differences in values, goals and self-conscious emotions and the ability to adapt and self-regulation. Self-transcendence (i.e., the identification with something bigger than oneself, such as, god, nature, all humanity) [7] was the character dimension that increased the most after the intervention, especially among the female newcomers. In other words, the intervention did not have a negative impact on the mental health of the individuals and, although relatively weak, the effect on Self-transcendence is probably of importance in the participants’ lives. Clinical practice shows that there are three different ways that lead to a downward spiral of mental health [8]. One of them is the decrease in or underdevelopment of Self-transcendence, because low Self-transcendence means that the individual feels disconnected from his environment, impatient, judgmental and sees the world without meaning, which means loss of trust. When we catastrophize, or become impatient and judgmental, we are absorbed in struggling with problems and obstacles that we have no control over, as in post-traumatic stress syndrome [7]. Hence, these preliminary results suggest that physical activity increased the sense of meaning and connectedness to society among this sample of newcomers.
Danilo Garcia
added a research item
Our aim was to evaluate the effect of a 10-week training program among a small sample of newcomers, mostly originally from Syria. The preliminary results suggest that physical activity increased the sense of meaning and connectedness to society among this sample of newcomers, especially among women.
Danilo Garcia
added a project goal
Our aim is to investigate the effect of interventions on the well-being of refugees in Blekinge Sweden. The interventions aim to improve physical, psychological, and social well-being among this specific population in the county of Blekinge, Sweden. This project is funded by the European Social Fund, Region Blekinge, and Anthropedia.
The project is under the program Sustainable Personal Development (https://www.researchgate.net/project/Sustainable-Personal-Development)