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BSHAPE Safety and Health Study for Survivors of Cumulative Trauma

Bushra Sabri, PhD, MSW

Principal Investigator

Bushra Sabri, PhD, MSW

BSHAPE Safety and Health Study for Survivors of Cumulative Trauma

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (R00HD082350)

Immigrant women, including those from Africa are disproportionately affected by violence/trauma and its health effects. The contributing factors are found at both individual and environmental levels including stresses of immigration and cultural barriers to seeking help. Co-occurring health problems (e.g., HIV, STI, PTSD) are commonly reported among survivors of trauma/violence, which is associated with additional safety and health challenges, emphasizing the need for comprehensive interventions for this population. Most interventions focus on addressing health or safety risks related to one type of trauma only, not accounting for other forms of trauma that happen concurrently and go unreported. Others address trauma-related health outcomes such as mental health and HIV-STI as separate issues. However, these issues are highly related and need a more comprehensive intervention approach. Interventions that do not account for multiple epidemics facing survivors and choose to focus on one issue in isolation may be less effective than integrated interventions.


Bushra Sabri, PhD, MSW, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

The goal of this study is to develop, refine, finalize, and evaluate a trauma informed culturally tailored multicomponent intervention entitled BSHAPE (Being Safe, Healthy, and Positively Empowered). Drawing from a biopsychosocial perspective, BSHAPE is a trauma-informed empowerment model of intervention which takes into account biological, psychological and social determinants of health and aims to concurrently address immigrant women’s health and safety needs. The BSHAPE intervention program key elements include strengths based assessments, individualized plans and support based on priorities and needs, motivational interviewing strategies, psychoeducation (education with skill building exercises), mindfulness activities, danger assessment, safety planning, behavioral activation and linkage to community resources. To fulfill these goals, 136 African immigrant women are being recruited and randomly assigned to the intervention or treatment as usual arm. Women are between the ages of 18-50 with lifetime cumulative trauma experiences, have at least one sexual risk behavior and clinically significant depression and/or PTSD symptoms. The primary outcomes include changes in depression and/or PTSD symptoms, physiological stress responses, perceived stress levels, sexual risk behaviors, safety from violence and overall empowerment. This revolutionary integrated intervention approach will be one of the first of its kind to incorporate multiple methods to address the needs of the African immigrant population.


For more information or to see if you are eligible, click the link below.

BSHAPE Study Website

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