Credentials Display

Rebecca S. Lord, OTD, OTR/L

Jaime P. Muñoz, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Background: Refugee youth face acculturation stress, language barriers, xenophobia, and difficulty accessing resources. These factors, combined with migration trauma, negatively impact youths’ psychosocial health. This study aimed to conceptualize evaluation in an occupation-focused, person-centered framework with the goal of informing therapists working with displaced children.

Methods: This mixed methods, descriptive study used narrative research methodologies to understand the experiences of refugee youths. A variety of assessment tools were used to elicit these youths’ stories and create in-depth occupational profiles. The evaluation protocol that was created generated extensive data used to inform programming at a community non-profit to ensure interventions were person-centered and focused on meaningful participation.

Results: Eleven youths shared narratives of their experiences of being forcibly displaced. Each story included features of trauma, role loss, acculturation stress, and challenges to psychosocial health. The results suggest that a person-centered approach requires the therapist to create a trusting therapeutic relationship with the child and to intentionally consider the cultural relevancy of all evaluation processes.

Conclusion: Data from this study reflect the benefits of employing a person-centered evaluation framework to elicit narratives from refugee youths. This study may provide insights into the cultural considerations therapists should take when working with refugees.


This research was supported, in part, by the Pathways Grant awarded by the Duquesne University Occupational Therapy Department. The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.