Norman David Nsereko
Muteesa I Royal University, Uganda
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Psychol Psychother
Statement of the Problem: Establishing the nature of psychosocial problems for effective intervention through quantitative assessment by university counselors in Uganda is impeded for lack of instruments that are developed or validated in their own environments or they are too costly on the market. This has left many vulnerable university students and the university mental health very much compromised. The purpose of the study was to develop a psychometrically sound psychosocial instrument that could be used to identify psychosocial problems among university students for professional intervention. Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: An exploratory, cross-sectional study informed by realist/post-positivism assumptions, employing grounded theory to identify the instrument items and the item response theory for the creation of psychometrically sound instrument were applied. Interviews and focus groups involved university students and key informants. Findings: The resulting 17 item university students evaluation of psychosocial problems (USEPP) scale was interpreted as a multidimensional measure of psychosocial problems namely, emotional, problems, trauma experiences, antisocial behavior and academic problems among university students. USEPP cut off point was established at 18 and it reported sensitivity at 99.1% (95% CI=95.-100), specificity at 98.03% (95% CI=96-99). Area under curve (AUC)=0.997. It has an internal consistency of 0.81. It was validated with HSCL-10 a psychological distress instrument. Significance: The validation indicated that USEPP measures students’ psychosocial problems, it discriminates university students with or without psychosocial problems and that it can predict psychological distress. Recommendations: USEPP may be used to screen for psychosocial problems among university students for early intervention and for research purposes.