Resilience Intervention for Women in Sex Work: The Mediating Role of Self-Esteem in Reducing Psychological Distress

[Speaker] Yuen, Winnie:1
[Co-author] Wong, William:1, Tang, Catherine:2, Holroyd, Eleanor:3, Tiwari, Agnes:1, Fong, Daniel:1
1:The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), 2:The National University of Singapore (Singapore), 3:RMIT University (Australia)

Female sex workers (FSWs) were more likely to show depression, anxiety and other psychological issues as a result of work-related stress, financial hardships, violence and stigma. Building upon the resilience framework, a randomised controlled trial was conducted on a resilience-promoting intervention which aimed to improve the psychological well-being of FSWs. 127 FSWs in Hong Kong were recruited and randomly assigned to the usual care control or intervention groups (6 one-hour sessions). All participants completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires with measures of resilience, general health status, self-esteem and self-efficacy. Significant improvement on resilience and self-esteem, and reduction in general mental health status were found between groups post-intervention. Multiple mediation analysis showed that self-esteem significantly mediated the effect of intervention on reduced psychological distress. The findings suggest that the intervention was effective in improving psychological status among Chinese FSWs and could be implemented in the mental health service for this marginalised group.
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