Friday, August 6th, 1:30pm
Room B35, Solomon Labs
HOW DOES CULTURE IMPACT PSYCHOPATHOLOGY?: A QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE EXAMINATION OF TRAUMA-RELATED ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN A NON-WESTERN, WAR AFFECTED POPULATION.
My program of research identifies the manner in which the presentation and experience of trauma-related anxiety (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder) and depression varies in different cultures. In study 1, I examined the factor structure of PTSD and depression in a war-affected non-Western country (Sri Lanka). This was done through confirmatory factor analysis of the Tamil-language versions of the PTSD Symptom Scale ? Self-Report (PSS-SR) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) collected from a sample of 197 war-affected Tamil individuals living in North-Eastern Sri Lanka. Neither the PSS-SR nor the BDI fit any established models. Exploratory factor analyses revealed factor structures similar to established models, but with a number of items either loading on different factors or not loading on any factor. In study 2, I developed a self-report measure of general war problems for a Sri Lankan Tamil population ? the Penn/RESIST/Peradeniya (PRP) War Problems Questionnaire ? which includes a psychiatric symptoms subscale consisting of local idioms of distress. This measure was developed through the coding of qualitative data (604 individual interviews asking people about war problems) from a war-affected non-western population (in this case, a Tamil population in North-Eastern Sri Lanka). In study 3, the PRP War Problems Questionnaire was administered along with established self-report measures of depression and PTSD (namely the BDI and the PSS-SR) to a sample of 197 war-affected Sri Lankan Tamil individuals. Exploratory factor analysis of the items in the psychiatric symptom section of the PRP War Problems Questionnaire revealed 3 factors: a trauma-related anxiety factor, and 2 depression factors. Regression analyses were then conducted to examine whether these 3 factors from the new measure predicted functional impairment (as measured by the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Scale) beyond what the established measures (the PSS-SR and BDI) predicted. I hypothesized that instruments containing local idioms of distress would predict variance in functional impairment above and beyond the variance accounted for by translated versions of measures developed for other cultures. This hypothesis was confirmed. Implications of these studies and directions for future research are discussed.