Tavernier will be conducting her research in Dominica

Tavernier will be conducting her research in Dominica

Dr. Royette Tavernier of Grand Bay, who earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from Brock University in Canada and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Northwestern University in the United States, is to conduct a research study to assess stress, coping, health, and resilience among a sample of youth in Dominica, following Tropical Storm-Erika.

Tavernier’s research focuses on sleep and psychosocial functioning among youth. Her research team will recruit both high school and college students in order to determine how both groups of students have been adjusting psychologically since the storm.

“Following the unfortunate event of Tropical Storm Erika, many efforts have focussed on providing physical needs such as food, clothing, and shelter to the people of Dominica. While efforts to restore these basic physical needs are a top priority, it is also important to determine the psychological needs of our youth,” stated Tavernier.

According to Tavernier, “I decided to conduct this research study with high school and college students because past research indicates that adolescence and young (emerging) adulthood are sensitive age periods for emotional functioning. In other words, how individuals function psychologically during this age period can have long-lasting implications for future wellbeing. Importantly, this also means that we can intervene during this age period to help influence positive long-term wellbeing.”

The project will be a two-part study. First, students will complete a survey/questionnaire, which asks questions that measure depression, stress, worry, and sleep problems; as well as questions relating to how students remember experiencing the storm. The survey also will ask questions about positive emotional functioning such as feelings of hope, resilience and psychological growth. Second, a smaller group of students will be asked to participate in an interview. The interview will give students an opportunity to provide further details about how their lives have been impacted by the storm and the different ways that youth have been coping with the experience.

Tavernier and her research team hope that students who receive an invitation to participate in the research study will take the opportunity to be a part of the project. “The first step towards helping our young people cope with traumatic events like Tropical Storm-Erika is to understand how students feel, think, and behave, and that information can only come from the young people themselves.”

Students who are under the age of 18 years will need permission from their parents to take part in the research study. Tavernier and her research team hope that parents will support their children in taking part in the research study and stated that, “the information that we gather from the study will be used to implement programs to help young people cope with future events that may cause significant stress in their lives.” The research study will provide young people with the opportunity to reflect on different aspects of their lives and to express themselves within a safe and confidential environment.

The research project has received approval from the Ministry of Education, Government of Dominica; the Institutional Review Board at Northwestern University (Study #: STU00202342); and the two participating institutions where the data collection will take place (the names of the institutions have been left out in order to protect the privacy of the students).

More information about the research study can be found on the project’s website: Dominica Strong Research Study and the project’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dominicastrongresearchstudy

Queries about the study should be directed to the lead researcher, Dr. Royette Tavernier at: dominicastrong2016@gmail.com.