Monday, October 18, 10:00 a.m.
B35, Solomon Labs
Well-Being, Growth and War: Mental Health in War-Affected Regions of Sri Lanka
I conducted an investigation among these populations assessing the well-being and post-traumatic growth of displaced populations seeking treatment at seven psychosocial counseling centers in North-Eastern Sri Lanka. In addition, I developed and validated a culturally sensitive measures of well-being for use among refugees affected by the recently-concluded civil war between the Sinhalese-majority government and the Tamil LTTE terrorist group in Sri Lanka, which has troubled the country for more than twenty years. This project thus combines ethnographic, qualitative and survey data, as well as concepts and methods from positive psychology and cultural psychiatry. In Study 1, I coded interviews collected from 741 participants in North-East Sri Lanka and developed a 21-item measure-the PENN/Peradenya/RESIST (PPR) Competencies Questionnaire-based on six domains identified through open coding methodology. These five domains were right thoughts, need fulfillment, family responsibilities, religion, education and pro-social behavior. In Study 2, a total of six focus groups were conducted at the Medical Faculty of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, with the purpose of assessing the face validity and translation quality of measures of well-being and mental health. Each focus group consisted of three males and three females (age range 35-62). A number of limitations in the measures were highlighted over the course of these sessions, and one questionnaire-the PANAS-was subsequently dropped. In Study 3, 196 internally displaced people attending psychosocial treatment clinics in North-East Sri Lanka completed the PPR Competencies Questionnaire. An exploratory factor analysis revealed a three-factor solution-Religious Faith, Material Welfare and Community Status. These three factors were differentially relations to life satisfaction, happiness, functional impairment and depression. Study 4 examined the relationship between posttraumatic growth (PTG) and mental health among internally displaced populations in Sri Lanka. An exploratory factor analysis of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory-Short Form (PTGI-SF) resulted in a two- factor solution. One factor, comprising of the new possibilities and personal strength PTG domains identified by Tedeschi and Calhoun (1996) was related to life satisfaction, happiness and depression, while the second factor-religion or spiritual change-was related to life satisfaction and level of religiosity. Implications of these studies and future directions are discussed.