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      Othering refugees: Psychotherapists' attitudes toward patients with and without a refugee background.

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          Abstract

          Objective: A large proportion of refugees present with psychological disorders that require psychotherapy as first-line treatment. However, even in countries with well-established psychotherapy system, refugees continue to face barriers to care. Psychotherapists' attitudes toward refugees may also impede access to psychotherapy, as it is evident that stereotypes of health professionals contribute to health care disparities. However, little is known about psychotherapists' attitudes toward refugees. Methods: In a cross-sectional online study of N = 2002 outpatient psychotherapists in Germany (Mage = 54.48 years, 73.1% female), a vignette experiment was applied to examine differences in therapists' attitudes toward refugee patients from the Middle East and non-refugee patients. Subsequently, associations between attitudes and psychotherapists' characteristics (e.g., provision of treatment for refugees) were analyzed. Results: Results showed significant differences between therapists' attitudes toward refugee and non-refugee patients (ηp2 = .23), with more therapy-hindering attitudes toward refugee patients. Higher therapy-hindering attitudes were significantly associated with less frequent provision of psychotherapy for refugees. Conclusion: Our findings provide initial evidence that psychotherapists perceive refugee patients as deviant from the norm and that these divergent attitudes may relate to disparities in mental health care. To avoid such a process of othering, training for psychotherapists should question stereotypes toward refugees.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Psychother Res
          Psychotherapy research : journal of the Society for Psychotherapy Research
          Informa UK Limited
          1468-4381
          1050-3307
          Jun 2023
          : 33
          : 5
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Psychology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.
          Article
          10.1080/10503307.2022.2150097
          36473168
          9f431300-da4e-47e5-ad10-ef75b27ba24f
          History

          attitudes,health care disparities,psychotherapy,refugees,PTSD

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