The Department of Psychology welcomes back Nuwan Jayawickreme, Ph.D. to present its annual Homecoming Colloquium, Friday, September 28th at 4:00 pm in Bowen Auditorium, McCreary 115.
Nuwan graduated from Gettysburg College in 2004 with a double major in Psychology and English. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. His research interests include post-traumatic stress disorder, cultural variations in the experience and expression of psychopathology and dissemination of empirically-supported treatments. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Manhattan College, NY.
In his talk entitled, "Do measures of distress need to be culturally specific? The example of Sri Lanka," Nuwan will present research looking at the question of whether psychometric instruments of psychopathology incorporating local idioms of distress predict functional impairment in a war-affected non-Western population above and beyond translations of already established instruments developed in the West. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the war-related psychological and behavioral problems section of the Penn/RESIST/Peradeniya War Problems Questionnaire (PRPWPQ), a measure that incorporates local idioms of distress, using data from 197 individuals living in war-affected areas of Sri Lanka. Three subscales - Anxiety, Depression and Negative Perception were identified. Regression analyses were conducted to test whether these three subscales better predicted functional impairment than the Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Scale (PSS) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), both widely used self-report measures of PTSD and depression, respectively. Two of the three subscales from the PRPWPQ - anxiety and depression - were significantly associated with higher rates of functional impairment after controlling for demographic confounds, the PSS and BDI. These findings suggest that the Anxiety and Depression subscales of the PRPWPQ can predict functional impairment above and beyond translations of established self-report measures of PTSD and depression.