Simpson Khoo’s research titled “Psychological Well-being and Sleep Quality among Adults Living in Low-cost Public Housing in Klang Valley: A Cross-sectional Study” was in collaboration with the Social Welfare Officers at the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat Selangor (JKM).
We recently sat down with Simpson Khoo to learn more about Simpson’s passion for Psychology and contributing to society.
Q: What drove you to pursue your Master in Clinical Psychology?
A: I worked with NGOs and the corporate sector prior to joining this program at the University of Cyberjaya. I saw there is a dire need to better serve the underprivileged community since the awareness to mental health is relatively low. In addition, accessibility to mental health professionals is also limited.
Q: What were some of your most significant research findings?
The research was in collaboration with JKM Selangor and sought to establish the prevalence of depression, anxiety, stress and sleep quality as well as to examine the moderating effect of sleep quality in the relationship between income with depression, anxiety and stress among the adults living in low-cost housing.
Results showed that the prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression were 14.6%, 35.4% and 21.2% respectively. Gender and income level are strong predictors to depression, anxiety, stress and poor sleep quality.
The study concludes that low-income group especially those living in the low-cost public housing communities need better mental health care services and accessibility. In addition to that, the community also needs better awareness to self-care and learn relevant coping mechanism to stress and anxiety.
A: The learning atmosphere during lectures was always positive. My lecturers encouraged two-way communications and mature debate sessions discussing current issues and trends. We were also given the opportunity to participate in seminars and attend the ‘Good Clinical Practice’ examination organized by the Ministry of Health.
I find the best feature of this course is the inter-faculty collaborations between the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of Medicine. We had prominent psychiatrists from the Faculty of Medicine deliver lectures as well as supervise us for our internal practicum. I am sure I speak for the rest of my classmates when I say that this experience has certainly enriched our knowledge and expanded our horizons to better prepare for the actual clinical practice environment out there.
Even though I am back to the corporate philanthropy field, this qualification has given me better skills in handling complex situations with different stakeholders. I am able to advocate for more awareness of mental health and individuals with learning difficulties.
Q: What are the things to consider when choosing a master’s research topic?
A: Here are a few steps that I followed closely when I chose my research topic;
Select a topic that is close to your heart and read journals to identify the research gaps that need to be addressed.
Start early in your data collection process and consider involving actual government agencies or NGOs that actively advocate in the areas of your research interests. This would add value to your future study.
Be practical with your research scope. Do consider the limited time and resources available on top of the demanding coursework, exams, clinical practicums, case reports writing, classes and community project.
Work closely with your research supervisors and maintain good rapport.
Taken into consideration the time and complexity needed on certain research populations that need much more time in obtaining ethical research approval.
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