ACADEMICS

Champika Soysa

Professor

My research interests include topics in Clinical Psychology, Women's Studies, and issues related to Ethnopolitical Conflict. I studied coping and PTSD symptomatology in Sri Lankan children in response to both the ethnic conflict and natural disaster. I investigate intragroup and intergroup ethnic identity and prejudice among majority and minority ethnic groups in Sri Lanka. I study sociostructural aspects of college student experiences in terms of culture, race, class, and gender. Focal areas include depression, anxiety, stress, well-being, college adjustment, mindfulness, perfectionism, procrastination, eating pathology, test anxiety, coping, social support, psychological aspects of climate change, racial identity, and prejudice. In addition, I study aspects of pedagogy in teaching disciplinary writing, diversity issues, and psychological aspects of climate change.

Education

1988
Mount Holyoke College
Psychology
BA
1998
Clark University
Psychology
MA
2002
Clark University
Clinical Psychology
Ph.D.
Skills Posttraumatic Stress Disorder College Student Mental Distress/Health: Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Test Anxiety & Well-being Mindfulness Social Identity & Prejudice Climate Change Cognition and Behavior

Achievements

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Grant
Worcester State University Theme Semester Grant (2014F)- Borders, Boundaries, and Edges: Interdisciplinary undergraduate research on psychological predictors of climate change beliefs, concerns, and behaviors
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Grant
Worcester Department of Public Health and Worcester State University Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Grant- 2017 Spring and 2013 Spring)
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Most Recent Faculty Mini-Grant: 2018-2019
Predictors of Juvenile Firesetting Behavior
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Grant
Worcester State University, Summer Undergraduate Research Grant 2018
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Commencement Speaker at Worcester State University, 2006
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Publications

  • Books
  • Articles
Books
Ethnopolitical conflict in Sri Lanka: Trajectories and transformations (2012). In D. Landis and R. D. Albert (Eds.) The handbook of ethnic conflict: International perspectives. New York, NY, US: Springer Science + Business Media. Read More
Articles
Active war in Sri Lanka: Children’s war exposure, coping, and PTSD symptom severity (2016). American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(6), 671-685. doi.org/10.1037/ort0000175 Read More
Articles
Mindfulness, self-compassion, self-efficacy, and gender as predictors of depression, anxiety, stress, and well-being (2015). Mindfulness, 6, 217-226. doi 10.1007/s12671-013-0247-1 Read More
Articles
Negative emotion-focused coping mediates the relationships between neuroticism and psychological outcomes (2017). Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 22(4), 258-269. Read More
Articles
Orchestrating authorship: Teaching writing across the psychology curriculum (2013). Teaching of Psychology, 40(2), 88-97. doi:10.1177/0098628312475027 Read More
Articles
Mediating perceived parenting styles — test anxiety relationships: Academic procrastination and maladaptive perfectionism (2014). Learning and Individual Differences, 34, 77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2014.05.004 Read More
Articles
War and tsunami PTSD responses in Sri Lankan children: Primacy of reexperiencing and arousal compared to avoidance-numbing (2013). Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 22(8), 896-915. doi:10.1080/10926771.2013.824056 Read More
Articles
Teaching undergraduates about mindfulness (2014). Journal of Human Services, 5-23. Read More
Articles
Great expectations: Perfectionism and residence status predict college adjustment (2014). Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 19(3), 98-107. Read More
Articles
Social capital, self-esteem, popularity, need for accessibility to friends, and stress predict cyber technology use (2013). International Journal of Cyber Behavior Psychology and Learning 3(4), 28-43. doi: 10.4018/ijcbpl.2013100102 Read More

Service Projects

Program Area Chair- Women's Studies, Worcester State University

Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, Jamaica Plain, Grand Rounds

Boston Consortium on Gender and Security

Aaron Beck Institute for the Study of Cognitive Psychology: Assumption College

American Psychological Association (APA) and Clark University Workshop for Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS)

Program Area Chair- Women's Studies, Worcester State University

2007-2010

Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, Jamaica Plain, Grand Rounds

Haiti 2010 Earthquake: Issues & Interventions in Massachusetts.

Boston Consortium on Gender and Security

Women in the Sri Lankan War and Peace-Building Processes-2011

Aaron Beck Institute for the Study of Cognitive Psychology: Assumption College

Disaster and Mental Health-2011

American Psychological Association (APA) and Clark University Workshop for Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS)

Sociocultural Shaping of Abnormal Psychology -2013

Research

Pedagogy

Pedagogy

Over the past 10+ years, I have studied teaching in relation to a variety of topics, including: disciplinary writing; sensitive topics; diversity; mindfulness; psychological aspects of pro-environmental behavior; and research methods in mental health. In addition, I evaluate research methodology as well as numerous aspects of teaching first-generation vs. continuing generation college students (see attachment).
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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

I studied posttraumatic stress symptom severity in response to war and natural disaster in Sri Lanka. Regarding the impact of war, I examined PTSD severity in children and their mothers, as well as coping and social support as predictors of PTSD severity in children. I identified cultural aspects of PTSD symptomatology in the context of both war and tsunami responses in Sri Lankan children (see attachment).
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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

I study the beneficial effects of mindfulness in relation to mental distress (depression, anxiety, and stress) as well as well-being in college students. I also study the benefits of teaching mindfulness to undergraduates in both public and private colleges, and in first and continuing generation students.
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College Student Mental Distress

College Student Mental Distress

I study a range of correlates of psychopathology in college students, including: depression, anxiety, stress, test anxiety, college adjustment, technology addiction, and eating pathology. Regarding correlates of psychopathology, I examine perfectionism, locus of control, procrastination, personality, parenting styles, self esteem, self efficacy, mindfulness, self-compassion, coping, social support, etc. (see attachment)
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Courses

PS 492

Capstone Seminar in mental Health Services


A capstone course dealing with recent and emerging topics, issues, and methods in mental health.
PS 335

Abnormal Psychology


Etiology, dynamics, and treatment of psychopathology and their relation to normal personality are considered from traditional and contemporary perspectives.
PS 330

Theories of Personality


A survey of major theories of personality. Why people behave as they do is explored through the different theories.
PS 101

Introduction to Psychology


Introduction to the history of psychology, scientific method, brain/nervous system, development, learning, motivation, sensation/perception, personality, psychopathology, psychotherapy, cognitive processes, and social behavior.
PS -Special Topics

Movies and Madness


This course introduces students to representations of mental disorders in the movies. The focus here is to examine systematized structures of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the construction of those representations. The analytical perspective is one that criticizes oppression while problematizing group privilege in dominant groups.