Springer Nature

Efficacy of affirmative cognitive behavioural group therapy for sexual and gender minority adolescents and young adults in community settings in Ontario, Canada

Posted on 2021-06-08 - 03:28
Abstract Objective This study tested the efficacy of AFFIRM, a brief affirmative cognitive-behavioural group intervention tailored to reduce psychosocial distress and improve coping among sexual and gender minority adolescents and young adults (SGMY). Method SGMY (n = 138; M age = 22.44) were allocated to immediate 8-week AFFIRM intervention delivered at 12 community-based organisations or an 8-week waitlisted control. At baseline, post-intervention or post-waitlist, participants completed self-reported assessments of depression, hope, coping, and stress appraisal. Implementation outcomes of feasibility and acceptability were also assessed. Results Compared to waitlist, SGMY in the intervention condition significantly reduced their depressive symptoms (b = − 5.79, p = .001) as well as increased reports of hope (agency: b = 0.84, p = .001; pathway: b = 0.79, p = .001), and coping by emotional support (b = 0.59, p < .001), instrumental support (b = 0.67, p < .001), positive framing (b = 0.59, p < .001), humour (b = 0.36, p = .014), planning (b = 0.49, p < .001) as well as reflective coping (b = 0.27, p = .009). Intervention participants were also less likely to perceive stress as a threat (b = − 0.43, p = .001), and more likely to perceive stress as challenge (b = 0.67, p < .001) and have the resources to deal with that stress (b = 0.38, p = .016) in comparison to waitlisted control participants. All outcomes had medium to large effect sizes. AFFIRM participants reported low attrition (8.5%) and high levels of engagement and acceptability (e.g. 99% agreed intervention was relevant to their lives). Over 63% of the community organizations that participated in the training hosted AFFIRM at least once during the study. Conclusions Results demonstrate efficacy for the community-based implementation of an affirmative clinical intervention designed for SGMY to address depression and foster coping with universal and minority stressors.


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