The social outcomes of psychosocial support: A grey literature scoping review
Number of pages
SourceSSM Mental Health, 2, (2022), article 100074
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
SW OZ RSCR SOC
SSM Mental Health
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies; Inequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
Policymakers, practitioners and academics expect mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) interventions to have social outcomes. Surprisingly, the existing academic literature on the effectiveness of MHPSS has focused almost exclusively on clinical outcomes. The evidence base of MHPSS interventions is in that way limited. To feed the research agenda on MHPSS (i.e., MHPSS-SET2), this scoping review analyses the presence and understanding of social outcomes in the grey literature. Open-access documents were systematically searched from various online grey literature databases and websites of organisations. Documents which describe psychosocial programming in low- and middle-income countries for people affected by humanitarian emergencies were included. Data characteristics were extracted, such as the type of document, intervention and outcome. A textual analysis of social outcomes was conducted to categorise the descriptions of these outcomes. A total number of 95 grey literature documents were included in the review. It was found that in the vast majority of the reviewed documents, social outcomes are being described. However, social outcomes have been poorly conceptualised both theoretically and methodologically, meaning that most documents lack definitions of theoretical concepts and measurement instruments. Mechanisms relating interventions to social outcomes have remained implicit. These findings are interpreted in light of key developments in the field of MHPSS, in particular the introduction of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) guidelines, and the review traces the underexposed position of social outcomes back to the clinical historical roots of the field. In conclusion, those who develop and evaluate interventions should focus more structural attention on social outcomes to fully understand the possible impact of psychosocial interventions. Further harmonisation between academic research and practice is necessary, by drawing from practice-based insights on social outcomes as found in the grey literature, and using methods and measurement instruments from social sciences in MHPSS research.
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