Parenting Interventions for Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Families: A Systematic Review

Sarah Gillespie, Jasmine Banegas, Joseph Maxwell, Athena C.Y. Chan, Neveen Ali Saleh Darawshy, Akash R. Wasil, Scott Marsalis, Abigail Gewirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Globally, an estimated 79.5 million individuals have been displaced, nearly 40% of whom are children. Parenting interventions may have the potential to improve outcomes for displaced families. To investigate this, we conducted a systematic review to identify the types of caregiver or parenting interventions that have been evaluated among displaced families, to assess their efficacy across a range of contexts, and to describe their cultural and contextual adaptations. The review followed PRISMA guidelines. At stage one, all articles describing caregiver/parenting interventions for forcibly displaced families were included to provide a scoping review of the state of the literature. At stage two, only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental designs were included, allowing for quantitative analysis of program effects. A total of 30 articles (24 studies) were identified in stage one. 95.8% of these articles were published in the past 10 years. Of these, 14 articles (10 studies) used an RCT or quasi-experimental design to assess program efficacy or effectiveness. Relative to control groups, those assigned to caregiving programs showed significant, beneficial effects across the domains of parenting behaviors and attitudes, child psychosocial and developmental outcomes, and parent mental health. Cultural adaptations and recruitment and engagement strategies are described. The evidence base for caregiving programs for displaced families has expanded in recent years but remains limited. Caregiving/parenting programs show promise for reducing the negative effects of forced displacement on families, but future studies are needed to understand which programs show the greatest potential for scalability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-412
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Child and Family Psychology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Caregiving programs
  • Internally displaced
  • Parenting programs
  • Prevention and intervention
  • Refugees
  • Systematic review


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