I am a social-personality psychologist who is interested in understanding how people adjust and find meaning from challenging life events.
I am Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Nottingham when I joined the School of Psychology in 2016. Before joining the School, I was a Research Fellow in the School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies at the University of Nottingham from 2015-2016, where I worked alongside Professor Nicki Hitchcott, Professor Stephen Joseph, Aegis Trust and Genocide Archive Rwanda to analyse testimonies to understand how Rwandan individuals have adjusted and reconstructed their identity and relationships following the 1994 genocide. From 2012 to 2015, I was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Wake Forest University in the USA, where I worked alongside Professor Eranda Jayawickreme on the Growth Initiative Project examining if the experience of hardship could change individuals' personalities and behaviours in positive ways. Prior to these positions, I obtained my PhD in Social Psychology in 2012 from the University of Essex under the supervision of Dr Philip Cozzolino, where I investigated how Death Reflection could encourage healthy individuals to respond to reminders of their mortality in a non-defensive and life-affirming manner.
My current research is focused on post-traumatic growth and examines the extent to which people perceive they have changed positively after adversity, and the extent to which researchers can actually measure this over time. This research has been supported through external research grants from John Templeton Foundation, European Association of Personality Psychology and Templeton Religion Trust. I currently serve on the editorial boards of Personality and Social Psychology Review (from 2022), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (from 2020) and Social Psychological and Personality Science (from 2019).
You can learn more about my research lab's work on Twitter.
My current research interests focus on post-traumatic growth and the extent to which people experience positive changes to their identity, relationships, and worldviews after experiences of adversity… read more
BOSSERT, S.A, TSUKAYAMA, E, BLACKIE, L.E.R, COLE, V.T and JAYAWICKREME, E, 2022. Do We Know Whether We’re Happier? Corroborating Perceived Retrospective Assessments of Improvements in Well-Being Journal of Personality Assessment.
O’NEILL, A, JAYAWICKREME, N, BLACKIE, L.E.R, DEMASKE, A, GOONASEKERA, M and JAYAWICKREME, E, 2022. Knowing when someone is resilient: Development and validation of a measure of adaptive functioning among war-affected Sri Lankan Tamils Social Science and Medicine – Mental Health. 1, 100026
JAYAWICKREME, ERANDA, INFURNA, FRANK J., ALAJAK, KINAN, BLACKIE, LAURA E. R., CHOPIK, WILLIAM J., CHUNG, JOANNE M., DORFMAN, ANNA, FLEESON, WILLIAM, FORGEARD, MARIE J. C., FRAZIER, PATRICIA, FURR, R. MICHAEL, GROSSMANN, IGOR, HELLER, AARON S., LACEULLE, ODILIA M., LUCAS, RICHARD E., LUHMANN, MAIKE, LUONG, GLORIA, MEIJER, LAURIEN, MCLEAN, KATE C., PARK, CRYSTAL L., ROEPKE, ANN MARIE, AL SAWAF, ZEINA, TENNEN, HOWARD, WHITE, REBECCA M. B. and ZONNEVELD, RENEE, 2021. Post-traumatic growth as positive personality change: Challenges, opportunities, and recommendations JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY. 89(1), 145-165
My current research interests focus on post-traumatic growth and the extent to which people experience positive changes to their identity, relationships, and worldviews after experiences of adversity or hardship. My interests in this area fall into four broader themes:
(1) The development of methodologies and assessment tools to measure the extent to which people report post-traumatic growth. Historically assessments of post-traumatic growth have relied on retrospective survey methods, where it is challenging to separate out whether individuals' reports of positive changes reflect genuine change from pre-to-post adversity or the individual's desire to perceive positive change to help manage the negativity of the adverse event. I have examined this question in relation to whether individuals' self-reports of post-traumatic growth are corroborated by other people and the extent to which individuals' self-reports of post-traumatic growth translate into their daily behaviours. More recently, I have begun investigating the extent to which individuals' own narrative descriptions of adversity can provide less positively biased self-reports of post-traumatic growth when compared to survey methodologies.
(2) The mechanisms that might promote post-traumatic growth after adversity. I'm particularly interested in if the act of narration and the type of stories individuals tell about their adverse experiences will facilitate positive changes in their identity and mental health. I have also investigated whether individual differences, such as the extent to which perceptions of deservingness and extent to which individuals' actively engage in meaning-making processes predicts post-traumatic growth.
(3) The extent to which perceiving post-traumatic growth regardless of the veracity is beneficial to the individual. I have examined this in relation to mental health outcomes and extent to which these beliefs have functional value in non-western samples, including in Sri Lanka and Rwanda.
(4) The extent to which there are guiding scripts (or master narratives) embedded in individuals' cultures that outline social expectations for how individuals should manage adverse and challenging life experiences. Research in North America has consistently found that the redemption narrative - a movement from a negative event to a positive outcome - is associated with higher well-being when individuals describe stressful or difficult events from their past. However, there is little research to understand whether individuals in the UK endorse the same master narrative. Some of my initial research indicates that redemption might be a less central theme in the UK.