GAP-Santé (Groupe d’Analyse Psychosociale de la Santé) Research Unit
Dr. Lemyre’s innovative and world class research on risk and stress and on the psychosocial aspects of extreme events (i.e., terrorism, pandemics, BSE) is reflected in a sample of her projects briefly described below. Of particular interest in Dr. Lemyre’s research is the impact that threats themselves can have on perceptions and behaviours manifested at individual and collective levels. The graphic depicted below illustrates that an event does not have to physically occur to create ripples – the threat (the suspended water drop) itself is sufficient!
Risk and Stress: Anticipation and perception in psychosocial management of terrorist threat(s) (SSHRC 2004-2007)
The terrorism threatrepresents a current risk and source of stress for Canadians, especially in terms of uncertainty and of social consequences. This research project seeks to examine the psychological processes for the general public in managing the psychosocial aspects of the threat of terrorism. This project aims to investigate the obvious and latent aspects of terrorismin the general public, document the important dimensions of risk as they relate to actual and perceived risks and validate these findings in the context of different terrorism threats.
This project provides an integrated framework for managing the psychosocial aspects of CBRN risks that includes specific guidelines for psychosocial risk assessment, psychosocial risk communication and psychosocial interventions. It includes practical bilingual field-based training tools (which have been successfully pilot tested) providing critical decision support - for mid and high level first-responders and emergency planners - for promoting, mitigating and managing individual and collective, positive and negative psychosocial consequences, both short and long-term. This work was and continues to be supported by numerous and significant national and international world-leading collaborators from - among others - the European Union Sixth Framework Coordination Action Project on Vulnerabilities of Societies to RBC Terrorism; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and, the Australian Panel on Disaster and Terrorism Population Mental Health.
Research includes a survey of the literature on food safety and prion-related risk perception and risk behaviour in order to produce case studies from different countries around the world. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews with key informants were conducted to understand how the public evaluates the acceptability of food-borne and other related risks, and how members of the public make personal risk management decisions. A national public opinion survey will be undertaken to obtain a representative description of public and expert perceptions of risk, and the factors shaping risk acceptability. The findings will be incorporated into an integrated risk management framework.
This research project examines how work conditions affect stress and learning as well as ensuing individual and organizational health. The project encompasses:
- a national survey of 8,500 Canadian white collar employees and senior officials regarding learning in the context of stress in the workplace;
- a study of organizational work characteristics that facilitate learning; and,
- an analysis of the correspondence between optimal individual and organizational variables for learning and health.
The dissemination of the research results to employees and administrative authorities will help contribute to the development of plans and enhanced support for blue collar workers. This will engender a public function that facilitates greater learning, that is more efficient, and that is healthier.
This personal stress scale was validated by a large sample of the population of Quebec. Differing from the usual stressors (life events), this scale evaluates an aspect of the state of health, such as whether a person is tense or alert (the state of feeling stressed), where the elements of stress are psychosocial, behavioural or emotional. The scale is available in a 49 item version or two smaller 25 item versions; there is also a quick and reliable 9 item version.