BackgroundUnaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee minors report low life satisfaction and high levels of mental health problems, nevertheless they often do not seek or receive help for their problems. Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) is a low-threshold, five sessions intervention developed to reduce distressing war- and disaster-related trauma reactions among children and youth. In this study, we investigate if TRT can contribute to increased life satisfaction among unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee minors.MethodsAsylum-seeking and resettled unaccompanied minors participated in TRT carried out in 15 locations throughout Norway, n = 147, mean age = 16.61 (SD = 1.80), 88% boys, and 67% from Afghanistan. Life satisfaction was measured by the Cantril Ladder before the intervention, and two- and eight weeks post-intervention. We also included indices of intervention compliance and contextual variables, such as asylum status. We applied a pre- and post-intervention design with linear mixed model analyses to investigate change in life satisfaction.ResultsLife satisfaction significantly increased from pre- to post- intervention, but not for youth whose asylum application had been rejected or who were still awaiting a decision. Indices of intervention compliance were associated with an increase in life satisfaction.ConclusionsTRT is a potential useful intervention to enhance life satisfaction among unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee minors and can be a measure to support positive development among youth at risk for mental health problems. However, TRT initiatives should consider the participant’s stage of asylum process, because harsh immigration policies may overburden the coping capacity. Without further adaptation, TRT seems most useful for youth granted residence. The manual has been revised to include asylum-related stressors.

DOI: 10.1186/s13034-023-00595-x
ISSN: 1753-2000