Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Health Status of Burmese Refugees Resettled in Central Indiana: Implications for Occupational Therapy Practice
Author Affiliations
  • Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Indiana University
  • Indiana University
  • Indiana University
  • Indiana University
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Health Services Research and Education
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Health Status of Burmese Refugees Resettled in Central Indiana: Implications for Occupational Therapy Practice
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011510194. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO2031
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011510194. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO2031
Abstract

Date Presented 4/7/2016

Refugees often face changes in health status, which may negatively influence their functional participation. The purpose of this study was to explore health status of Burmese refugees resettled in the Midwestern United States in order to direct preventive care and promote minority health.

Primary Author and Speaker: Fengyi Kuo

Additional Authors and Speakers: Heidi Grove, Sarah Koning, Catherine Kennedy, Kelli Emady

Contributing Author: Nancy Goldfarb

RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the mental, physical, and sexual health status of Burmese refugees resettled in the Midwestern United States?
BACKGROUND: Refugees often face changes in their health status that may negatively influence their occupational performance and functional participation. The purpose of this study was to explore health status of Burmese refugees resettled in the Midwestern United States to direct preventive care and promote minority health.
DESIGN: This is a retrospective study analyzing health status data collected by a community-based organization serving refugees postresettlement.
METHOD: Community stakeholders and field experts contributed to the development of the refugee health status survey. The survey was translated into three languages commonly used by Burmese refugees, then distributed at a health fair for the refugee community.
PARTICIPANTS: Sixty surveys were returned at the end of the heath fair, with 5 surveys marked with only date of entry; therefore, 55 surveys (91.67%) remained in data analysis.
ANALYSIS: Data were analyzed using SPSS Version 21. Shapiro–Wilk’s test for normality was used to check for normal distributions of all data. Descriptive statistics and nonparametric measures of bivariate relationships using Spearman’s ρ correlation coefficient and Mann–Whitney U test were used for additional analyses.
RESULTS: The results showed moderate negative correlations between overall physical health and the variables of age and marital status. Level of sexual activity was found to be correlated with gender, with the male gender supporting a higher level of self-reported sexual activity. A positive correlation was found between marital status and access to contraceptives. In the area of mental health, results displayed a negative correlation between age and feeling depressed. A larger percentage of youths than adults reported having feelings of extended hopelessness or sadness.
CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest a need for age-appropriate, culturally relevant, and client-centered occupational therapy services for this population. The findings highlight the importance of ongoing research in the field of minority health to investigate the causes of health disparities among refugees and to support occupational therapy’s role in wellness promotion when working with refugees.
IMPACT STATEMENT: By documenting mental, sexual, and physical health of refugees, this study highlights Burmese refugees’ strengths and health disparities postresettlement. The findings can be utilized to inform occupational therapy practice in minority health and ultimately provide culturally competent care to maximize health-related quality of life for refugees.