Brian Isakson's research while affiliated with University of New Mexico and other places

Publications (16)

Article
This article describes the process of integrating trauma-informed behavioral health practices into a pediatric primary care clinic serving low-income and minority families while facing barriers of financial, staffing, and time limitations common to many community healthcare clinics. By using an iterative approach to evaluate each step of the implem...
Article
Understanding processes that support the well‐being of the unprecedented numbers of forcibly displaced people throughout the world is essential. Growing evidence documents post‐migration stressors related to marginalization as key social determinants of refugee mental health. The goal of this RCT was to rigorously test a social justice approach to...
Article
Although refugees who are accepted for resettlement in a third country are guaranteed certain rights and experience safety from war and persecution, they face many mental health challenges. Using qualitative methods and constructivist grounded theory, we explored culturally specific perspectives on trauma and recovery among Burundian, Congolese, an...
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The U.S. war with Iraq led to the displacement of millions of Iraqis, many of whom have resettled in the United States as refugees. We explore the challenges Iraqi families face after resettlement, with a particular focus on the agency of refugees and challenges/opportunities of familial social reproduction in a transnational context. We conducted...
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Social and geographic displacement is a global phenomenon that precipitates novel stressors and disruptions that intersect with long-standing familial and social roles. Among the displaced are war-torn Iraqi refugee families, who must address these new obstacles in unconventional ways. This study explores how such disruptions have influenced associ...
Article
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are a long-standing and important design for conducting rigorous tests of the effectiveness of health interventions. However, many questions have been raised about the external validity of RCTs, their utility in explicating mechanisms of intervention and participants’ intervention experiences, and their feasibili...
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Refugee youth routinely encounter difficult challenges related to past trauma, loss, and resettlement stressors. The recent surge in refugees resettling in the United States has made it increasingly likely that mental health service providers will receive referrals to work with refugee youth. It is thus essential to prepare the national mental heal...
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Using a mixed-method design with Bosnian students (n = 63, ages 16-19) and their primary caregivers (n = 50), we explored the impact of post-war adversities on adolescent adjustment, adolescent-caregiver relationships, and future outlook 8 years after the 1992-1995 Bosnian civil war. Adolescents and caregivers identified themes linking the war and...
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Study attrition is a problem in all community-based intervention studies using longitudinal research designs, but is compounded with hard to reach populations. High attrition poses threats to internal and external validity and may result in an inadequate sample size. The purpose of our study was to determine the characteristics associated with attr...
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Distribution of power and resources greatly impacts the mental health of individuals and communities. Thus, to reduce mental health disparities, it is imperative to address these social determinants of mental health through social change. Engaging in social change efforts requires people to critically engage with present conditions on personal, loc...
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Refugees resettled in the United States have disproportionately high rates of psychological distress. Research has demonstrated the roles of postmigration stressors, including lack of meaningful social roles, poverty, unemployment, lack of environmental mastery, discrimination, limited English proficiency, and social isolation. We report a multimet...
Article
The experience and sociocultural context of torture and its treatment have received little attention in the biopsychosocial model of Western mental health for survivors of torture. The main focus has been on the reduction of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and related conditions. Using grounded theory methodology, we investigated survivor...
Chapter
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There is a growing recognition that social inequities in education, housing, employment, health care, safety, resources, money, and power contribute significantly to increasing health disparities globally, within countries, and even within specific urban environments. Thus, to promote health and well-being for all people, the World Health Organizat...
Article
Methods are needed for quantifying the potency and differential effects of risk factors to identify at-risk groups for theory building and intervention. Traditional methods for constructing war exposure measures are poorly suited to "unpack" differential relations between specific types of exposure and specific outcomes. This study of 881 Bosnian a...
Article
The traditional model of Western mental health treatment for survivors of torture has focused mainly on posttraumatic stress disorder and related conditions. This model is symptoms-focused in which the goal is to reduce pathology. In this model, the mental health professional is the expert and the survivors learn from the professionals. Using groun...

Citations

... It is important to recognize the socioenvironmental risk factors contributing to cardiovascular risk, ensuring that interventions are not overly medicalized, but take the whole person into account, especially past traumas [63]. Research has shown some efficacy with trauma-informed primary care that helps personalize care and meet the complex needs of patients with trauma histories [19,64,65]. Additionally, some existing research intimates that trauma-informed care standards, such as conducting ACEs screenings or integrating education on the harmful effects of ACE exposure, may reduce the likelihood of future cardiovascular events [19,32]. ...
... The most common descriptions of groups were those described as People from racial/ethnic minority groups (n=42), followed by Residents of deprived, medically underserved, or rural areas (n=38), and people of Low socioeconomic status and/or uninsured (n=30), and Women (n=13). [73,74] Women [73] Hepatitis Criminal offenders and/or people who use illicit drugs [75,76] People from racial/ethnic minority groups [77] People who are not compliant/up to date with health recommendations [78] People without permanent homes [79] Veterans [78] Kidney disease People from racial/ethnic minority groups [80] Residents of deprived, medically underserved, or rural areas [80] Mental health conditions Criminal offenders and/or people who use illicit drugs [81,82] Immigrants, migrant/transient workers, refugees, or manual laborers [83] Low socioeconomic status and/or uninsured [56,81,[83][84][85][86][87] People from racial/ethnic minority groups [56,82,[88][89][90][91][92][93][94] People who are socially isolated or unengaged [83,84] People who have been institutionalized, disabled and/or are dependent on others [95,96] People with (serious) mental health conditions [82,[97][98][99][100] Residents of deprived, medically underserved, or rural areas [56] Women [84,85,98] Multiple sclerosis People with underserved chronic condition [101] Alcohol, tobacco, or substance use/abuse Criminal offenders and/or people who use illicit drugs [82] People from racial/ethnic minority groups [82] People with (serious) mental health conditions [82] ...
... Consistent evidence across resettlement countries and cultural groups has linked unemployment and difficulties securing work with mental ill health, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety (Aragona et al., 2020;Blight, Ekblad, Persson, & Ekberg, 2006;Fleay & Hartley, 2016;Lai, Due, & Ziersch, 2022;Maximova & Krahn, 2010;Walther, Fuchs, Schupp, & von Scheve, 2020), as well as mental illness treatment outcomes (Sonne et al., 2016;Teodorescu, Heir, Hauff, Wentzel-Larsen, & Lien, 2012). Likewise for those in work, job satisfaction and the meaning of work (Colic-Peisker, 2009;Hess et al., 2019;Lintner & Elsen, 2018;Maximova & Krahn, 2010; Yij€ al€ a & Luoma, 2019) and psychosocial conditions such as job demands and decision latitude have been linked to mental health (Sundquist, Ostergren, Sundquist, & Johansson, 2003;Ziersch et al., 2021). At the extreme, employment difficulties have been linked to suicide (Hagaman et al., 2016;Niederkrotenthaler, Mittendorfer-Rutz, Mehlum, Qin, & Bj€ orkenstam, 2020). ...
... The media and certain US policies such as the Patriot Act, the "War on Terror," and the "Muslim ban" ascribe to the belief that Muslim people are "backwards, barbaric, uncivilized, oppressed women, men who oppress women, violent, unreasonable, terroristic" (Chan-Malik et al. 2014, 19). These racialized descriptions contribute to the othering of refugees from the MENA region and can have a significantly negative impact on their mental and physical health (Kira et al. 2010;Yako and Biswas 2014;Hess et al. 2018). The US education system is a primary location of the racialization and gender socialization of Iraqi youth, and the implicit and explicit bias of administrators, teachers, and peers can further propagate racialized gender norms and roles. ...
... While theories linking dysfunctional anger behavior among forced migrants and conflict on the meso and macro-level exist (e.g., see "etiology of terrorism;" Victoroff, 2005;Rice, 2009;Victoroff et al., 2012), our search uncovered correlations in the private sphere (c.f. Silove, 1999;Momartin and Coello, 2006;Hinton et al., 2009;Isakson and Layne, 2009;Silove et al., 2009;Brooks et al., 2011;Nickerson and Hinton, 2011;Bryant and Nickerson, 2013;Meffert et al., 2014). For example, maladaptive anger responses potentially contribute to self-injurious behavior among torture survivors (Momartin and Coello, 2006;Bryant and Nickerson, 2013), as well as family conflict, especially when acculturation gaps occur between generations (Hinton et al., 2009;Isakson and Layne, 2009;Nickerson and Hinton, 2011). ...
... Thus, the very process that supports customizing the interventions also means that the implementation processes may not be readily comparable [13,14]. While effectiveness studies focus on the desired outcomes to determine if the intervention worked, they do not necessarily include a systematic evaluation of the process to determine what elements were critical to success or failure [13,15, 16]. ...
... While children who resettle as refugees in a third country such as the United States (U.S.) may have opportunities to (re)enroll in formal primary and secondary education, adults may not be eligible for such possibilities or for university education to the same extent (Baker, Ramsay, & Lenette, 2019). In the U.S. context, newly resettled refugees are eligible for public support directly through state and federal government programs and government-contracted, nonprofit resettlement agencies (Nelson, Hess, Isakson, & Goodkind, 2016). However, much of that assistance is time-limited and means-tested, leaving those unable to find adequate employment quickly in difficult circumstances. ...
... In a qualitative study conducted in Gaza, Liberia, and Sri Lanka with adolescents girls postconflicts, Samuels, Jones, and Abu Hamad (2017) found that supportive and caring relationships with family played a pivotal role in the psychosocial well-being of the adolescents. Al-Sabah et al. (2015) reported that a number of caregivers in Bosnia reported that their own fears and anxiety often interfered with their interactions with their children. Despite these disruptions in their relationships, more than one third of adolescents reported growing closer to their caregivers as a result of the war (Al Sabah et al., 2015). ...
... Ncube is not in favor of the problem-saturated approach to therapy. She appreciates the Western mental health professionals who believe that instilling hope and infusing faith are essential to the treatment process with traumatized refugee youth (Mustafa and Byrne 2016;Isakson et al. 2015). She would not agree with Western psychologists who deemphasize cultural knowledge or fear that developing culturally-specific interventions could lead to "endless adaptions or novel treatments [being] required to serve all groups effectively" (Lyon, Lau, McCauley, Vander Stoep, & Chorpita, 2014, p. 57). ...
... Sample selection bias reflects the fact that those who attrite from the study may have unique characteristics that other respondents do not share as well as reasoning for non-participation (Barry, 2005;Claus, Kindleberger, & Dugan, 2002;David, Alati, Ware, & Kinner, 2013;Fumagalli, Laurie, & Lynn, 2013;Odierna & Schmidt, 2009;Ribisl et al., 1996). Consequently, the remaining sample is no longer representative of the original sample, and thus not representative of the population to which inferences could be made (Carkin & Tracy, 2015;Crisanti, Case, Isakson, & Steadman, 2014). Random sampling of respondents begins to lose its utility once non-random attrition occurs (Goodman & Blum, 1996). ...