38_Researching the Impacts of the War on the Mental Health of Ukrainians with Антон Курапов

Anton Kurapov, Assistant Professor, Department of experimental and Applied Psychology, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv; post-Doc researcher, Department of Psychology, Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, founder of PsyRoom Online

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During the first month of the war (March 2022), Антон and colleagues conducted a study on the overall impact of war on students and academic personnel.

Right now, he mainly works on the assessment of mental health of Ukrainians – in particular, PTSD, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Growth; they will launch a second wave of the research soon. 

They assessed the impact of explosions, air raid alarms, and blackouts on mental health of Ukrainians in a longitudinal study (obtained daily data within 14-20 days). After quick data analysis they can confirm that air raid alarms and explosions, even heard in a distance, increase situational anxiety and reduce overall well-being and arousal; on the days with no alarms, explosions, and blackouts, overall wellbeing of participants is higher, and anxiety is lower than if at least one air raid alarm was present. Note they have assessed only subjective perceptions that might not be fully accurate. 

Also, they work on the assessment of mental health of Ukrainian refugees in the European Union. 

 Finally, they developed a huge project related to the assessment and enhancement of sleep quality of Ukrainians based on the online cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention. They named it Nukkuaa4Ukraine. 

This was an interesting chat with Anton. This situation in Ukraine is a unique one. You can see the evolution of mental health and awareness and the importance of good mental health. I can only imagine what the conversation would have been having this type of conversation 10-15 years ago. I did a poor job of asking the question, but one thought I would like to explore more of is something that was noted in the early stages of the war: the bad coping mechanisms were higher than normal. It is still a bit too early to see elevated PTSD, I believe. I mean it took me 10 years to admit to having PTSD. I am very curious if there is a commonality between adapting bad coping mechanisms in the early stages and if those become systemic, does this lead to elevated levels of PTSD. 

This was a really great conversation, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of future work completed by Anton. He is such a positive individual to discuss this topic with and very passionate about helping those negatively impacted by the current situation in Ukraine.

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