(2017) Asian Women’s Action for Resilience and Empowerment Intervention: Stage I Pilot Study

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This study describes the development and pilot test of Asian Women’s Action for Resilience and Empowerment (AWARE), a culturally informed group psychotherapy intervention designed to reduce depressive symptoms, suicidality, substance use, and HIV and sexual risk behaviors among 1.5 and second generation Asian American (AA) women. To participate, AA women had to meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or have a history of exposure to interpersonal violence (IPV) as determined using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) and Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire (TLEQ). This article also presents the preliminary feasibility and acceptability of AWARE from its Stage I pilot study of nine Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese American women. To foster holistic treatment, AWARE was developed based on original research findings from Stage 0 and integrated theoretical models including fractured identity theory, empowerment theory, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based techniques, and the AIDS Risk Reduction Model (ARRM). The development of AWARE was an iterative process informed by participant feedback, which led to frequent intervention modifications for a future randomized controlled trial (RCT) in Stage II. A qualitative analysis of participant feedback informed the following modifications: further exploration of feelings, improvements in technology delivery, learning and practicing coping skills, more specific cultural tailoring related to sexual health, decreased number of sessions and increased time per session. Findings provide support for the acceptability and feasibility of AWARE as “culturally informed” for AA young women with IPV histories, high-risk behaviors, and mental health issues.

KEYWORDS: intervention development, mental health, trauma, translational research