Cross-culturally adapted psychological interventions for the treatment of depression and/or anxiety among young people: A scoping review

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Background: Mental health problems among young people are a major global public health challenge. Psychological interventions may improve mental health, yet most are developed in western cultures, and it is unclear whether they are applicable to other geographical settings and can be delivered successfully to diverse populations. We identified empirical studies focusing upon cross-culturally adapted psychological interventions and examined the cultural adaptation process used and the effectiveness of the interventions in the treatment of depression and/or anxiety disorders among young people (defined here as children and adolescents aged between 8-18 years).

Method: We conducted a scoping review aligning to the guidelines reported in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) Statement. Stakeholder engagement enabled us to discuss the findings of the review and obtain feedback.

Results: We identified 17 studies of cross-culturally adapted psychological interventions that considered the appropriate language, metaphors, culturally appropriate terms, and cultural values of young people. Most studies (n = 11) adopted a randomised control trial (RCT) methodology. Six studies used the ecological validity and cultural sensitivity framework. Planned adaptation, cultural adaptation of content, and surface and deep structure level adaptations were used in other studies. Apart from one pilot study, all studies reported that culturally adapted interventions resulted in improvements in depression and/or anxiety symptoms in young people. The results suggest the potential effectiveness of cross-culturally adapted interventions within this context. Our stakeholder consultations demonstrated that engaging different community-level stakeholders in the adaptation process was highly recommended.

Conclusions: Whilst most included studies indicated improvements in depression and/or anxiety symptoms in young people following a cross-culturally adapted intervention, more work is needed in this area. In particular, focus should be placed upon identifying the dimensions of interventions that should be culturally adapted to make them acceptable, engaging and effective.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0290653
Number of pages26
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023

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© 2023 Mishu et al.

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