Assessing Mental Health and Psychosocial Status in Communities Exposed to Traumatic Events: Sri Lanka as an Example

The purpose of this study was to develop a measure of psychosocial status that could reliably and accurately assess psychosocial functioning in Sinhalese Sri Lankans impacted by traumatic events. A culturally grounded methodology using qualitative data was used to develop and validate the Sri Lankan Index of Psychosocial Status-Adult Version (SLIPSS-A). Thr SLIPPS-A is a 26-item measure assessing local indicators of distress, with items placed on a frequency scale from 0 (never) to 4(6-7 days per week). The instrument was administered to 170 Sinhalese Sri Lankans (72% women) between the ages of 21 and 71 years with differing types of trauma exposure. The measure demonstrated excellent reliability (α = .92) and was significantly correlated with the PTSD Checklist. Scored on the SLIPSS-A significantly predicted exposure to the tsunami. Factor analysis resulted in the extraction of five factors. The results suggest that the SLIPSS-A could be used as a genreal measure to asses psychosocial functioning in Sri Lankan rural Sinhalese adults impacted by trauma.

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