Behaviour Change


The FRIENDS Program for Young Former-Yugoslavian Refugees in Australia: A Pilot Study

Paula M. Barretta1 c1, Alan F. Moorea2 and Robi Sondereggera3

a1 Griffith University.

a2 Griffith University.

a3 Griffith University.


Young immigrants frequently experience anxiety as a consequence of the stress associated with migration. Despite being at high risk for the development of psychopathology, culturally sensitive assessment and intervention procedures for use with ethnic minority groups residing in Australia have yet to be developed and validated. The aims of the current study were to (a) investigate the level of anxiety in a sample of former-Yugoslavian teenage refugees; (b) appraise the efficacy of the FRIENDS program, a validated Anglo-Australian anxiety-prevention program, for use with this high-risk group; and (c) obtain information from both the program participants and facilitators regarding how the intervention could be modified to better meet the needs of this growing refugee population in Australia. Twenty female former-Yugoslavian youths completed standardised measures of internalising symptoms. Participants were allocated to either an intervention (n = 9) or a waiting list (n = 11) condition. In spite of the small sample size, post-assessment indicated that participants in the intervention condition reported significantly less internalising symptoms than participants in the waiting list condition. Social validity data indicated that, overall, participants were highly satisfied with the intervention. Suggestions for assessment and treatment program modifications are discussed.


c1 Address for correspondence: Paula M. Barrett, School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Mt. Gravatt Campus, Mt. Gravatt QLD 4111, Australia.