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Playing to live: outcome evaluation of a community-based psychosocial expressive arts program for children during the Liberian Ebola epidemic

  • C. A Decosimo (a1), J. Hanson (a2), M. Quinn (a3), P. Badu (a4) and E. G. Smith (a5)...

Abstract

Background.

This paper reviews the efficacy of a community psychosocial arts program focused on building mental health capacity within post-Ebola Liberia. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the outcome effects of two groups using pre- and post-treatment data. We hypothesized that there would be a difference in symptoms pre- and post-treatment, and the longer program would yield more significant results.

Methods.

There was a total of 870 child participants. Of 40 sites, 24 were selected for a 5-month treatment (TG1) while the remaining 16 sites received 3 months of treatment (TG2). Paired t tests and a mixed-model analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to analyse pre- and post-psychological stress symptoms (PSS) for samples from both groups.

Results.

Separately, treatment group 1 (TG1) and treatment group 2's (TG2) paired t test yielded significant results (p < 0.001) for the decrease of PSS. The mixed-model ANOVA found that there were significant differences in total pre- and post-test PSS and a significant difference in PSS means over time.

Conclusions.

Results indicated that there was a statistically significant decrease in reported symptoms in both treatment groups pre- to post-intervention and a significant difference in total symptoms over time. However, the findings do not indicate that the longer programming was statistically different compared to the shorter programming. The study presented had gaps in data, largely due to limits in research during the crisis. However, this paper provides a unique case study for challenges that can be faced for project evaluation in emergency settings.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: C. A Decosimo, Playing to Live, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA. (Email: alexisdecosimo@playingtolive.org)

References

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