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Member Highlight: Erhabor Idemudia

Member Highlight: Prof Erhabor Idemudia

1. First, list your current professional title. Second, describe your background, experience, and research as it relates to Quality-of-life studies. Feel free to describe this in detail

Erhabor Idemudia is a (full) Professor of Research (Social Science Cluster), Faculty of Humanities and sub-programme leader of Lifestyle Disease Niche Area, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, South Africa.  He is a STIAS Fellow (South Africa), Leventis-SOAS Fellow (UK), Salzburg Fellow (Austria), CODESRIA Laureate and Fellow (Senegal), Georg-Foster Life-Time Achievement Award winner (Germany), Humboldtian (Germany), NRF established Scientist (South Africa). He is also a UCLA (USA) Phodiso scholar and mentor.

Fellow, World Council for Psychotherapy, Fellow, Nigeria Psychological Society, Fellow, Nigeria Association of Clinical Psychologists. Mentor, ISQOLS Mentorship programme.

My educational background includes a BSc (Hons) in Psychology (1986), MSc (1990) and PhD (1995) in Clinical Psychology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Having graduated as the best student in my Master’s class (1990/91), I was mandated to join the psychology staff team as a teaching assistant (1991) from where I grew in the ranks to becoming a full-fledged professor. I have taught and done research at the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), SOAS (UK), Jacobs University (Germany), University of Namibia (Windhoek, Namibia), University of Limpopo (South Africa) and North-West University (South Africa).  My long history of research has always focused on the quality of life of vulnerable people which has been to engage in preventive and action research including their quality of life and psychological intervention programmes as demonstrated in my PhD (1991-1995) thesis titled “Psychosocial factors determining psychological disorders among prison inmates in Nigeria: Implications for treatment intervention”, my publications and also in my recent book, co-authored (with Prof Klaus Boehnke (Jacobs University, Germany), titled “Psychosocial experiences of African migrants in six European countries: A mixed method study” published by Springer Nature:

I have published extensively on the quality of life of African migrants in the Diaspora also see and also that of Zimbabweans in South Africa:

I have recently (August 2020) looked at the impact of COVID-19 on school learners in South Africa and  I just returned September 1st 2020) from the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study (STIAS) Cape town where I went to work with three other colleagues from WITS, UNISA and UWC to discuss a projectivized research on COVID-19 and the quality of life in South Africa:

2. What initially attracted you to the field of quality-of-life studies?

As indicated above, I am a psychologist, then a clinical psychologist and a psychology research scientist in that order. Generally, I am a humane person. Combining the nature of my person and my area of knowledge assisted me to apply and position my research with vulnerable populations such as prisoners, immunocomprised persons, internally displaced persons and migrants in general. Understanding the quality of life of these group of people through research also helps in providing solutions with policy implications with various stakeholders for them. My research focus and contribution to science are anchored on three domains: (1) applied research in mental health, wellbeing, Trauma, PTSS, PTSD, QOL and interventions with vulnerable and challenged groups such as migrants/refugees and PLHIV (2) the development of African-oriented psychology methods with the understanding of illness attributions based on culture and (3) gender studies anchored on 1 and 2 above.

3. What are some areas of quality-of-life studies you feel are lacking attention? Any advice for future QoL researchers?

                 Again, as indicated above, no 2 of my research focus is the “development of African-oriented psychology methods with the understanding of illness attributions based on culture”. This aspect of my research tries to understand how trauma, stress, PTSD, resiliency, values (stereotypes), health related issues and QOL can be understood from an African perspective and in vulnerable groups. In my opinion, QoL studies are mainly Eurocentric and therefore needs to diversify and be all encompassing.  There is need to understand Quality of life across cultures. I am certainly interested in QoL of Africans and even those in Diaspora. What makes a European happy will be different from what makes an African person happy. Hence one of my PhD graduate investigated a study titled “The development and validation of a happiness and Life Satisfaction Scale for adults in Africa” and the study found some very good results. I will be happy to collaborate with European/American colleagues on QoL issues from the African lenses.

4. How long have you been a member of ISQOLS? Why did you choose to be a member of ISQOLS? How has your involvement in ISQOLS impacted your career/research/advancement in your knowledge of QoL studies?

I have been a like-warm member of ISQOLS since 2014 but officially an active member since 2017. I didn’t understand that I have to pay to be a “real” member and having decided to be active that I started my annual membership fees. My choice directly relates to my area of research and publications. About 80% of my publications (out of about 250 journal articles, 32 chapters in books, 17 other academic outputs) are QoL related or focused. In addition, the starting of a QoL Niche research area in my university also triggered my decision to be an active member. I have attended several ISQOLS conferences. I was appointed a Mentor in the mentorship programme although we couldn’t meet as agreed in Granada, I guess due to some location confusion among participants and lack of and time as people also had presentations in other locations. However, the power point from Jill did help a lot for those who couldn’t attend. My research focus aligns with ISQOLS and, therefore, I must say that attending ISQOLS conferences, having access to its online contents and meeting some of her members have helped advance my knowledge of QoLs studies. My plan for a QoL research niche will also help me prepare and graduate M and D students in my university. It is also my hope of hosting or co-hosting an ISOQLS conference in South Africa in the future.

5. Feel free to include any other important comments or things you'd like to share with the ISQOLS community.

My Granada little story will suffice here: I met a young scholar at the last conference in Granada, Spain. His name is Dr Adekunle Adedeji. He attended my presentation with some many others. Later he approached me and we got talking about his area of research and that prompted me to also attend his presentation which I found very interesting because of our shared area of research interest. After some intensive discussion, I brought the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship offered by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, to his attention and after some collaborations on the matter, we applied and I am happy to inform you that his application has been accepted as a Feodor Lynen Fellow and he will be spending some years with me as Host at NWU in South Africa starting 2021. We will be using the prestigious and competitive fellowship to investigate a study titled “The development of a cross-cultural measure of microaggression for quality of life and well-being” for migrants in South Africa and in Europe. Microaggression is a new concept and a new area of migration research that needs investigating. South Africa is a well-grounded setting for such a study because of its diversity in people and culture hence its nick name “the Rainbow nation”:


Brief Bio

Formerly the Head of Department of Psychology, Professor Idemudia is currently a tenured Full Professor of Research-Social Science Cluster in the Faculty of Humanities and subprogramme leader of Lifestyle & Diseases Research Entity, Health Sciences, NWU, South Africa. He has a BSc (Honours) in Psychology, MSc and PhD in Clinical Psychology. He is an NRF Established Rated Scientist and a recipient of the Georg-Forster Life-Time Achievement Award in Research. A Humboldtian; Leventis Fellow, (UK; Salzburg Fellow, (Austria); a Phodiso-UCLA Fellow and Advisor, (USA) and currently the Gen. Sec & Registrar of Membership-WCP-African Chapter and Board member, WCP, Austria. He is an Associate Editor (AE) of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, South Africa and AE, Heliyon (Netherlands). Research interests include: applied research in psychopathology and interventions with vulnerable populations such as migrants/refugees, IDPs and cultural aspects of African-oriented psychology and illness attributions. Prof Idemudia, has over 200 publications in peer reviewed journals and books of wide readership. He is a Fellow of the WCP, NACP and NPA and author (with Klaus Boehnke) “I’m an alien in Deutschland: A quantitative mental health case study of African Immigrants in Germany.   He was recently August 2020 awarded a STIAS Fellowship and have just published his recent 2020 book (with Klaus Boehnke of Jacobs University, Germany) titled "Psychosocial experiences of African migrants in six European countries. A mixed method study" published by Springer Nature.  Prof Idemudia's research focus and theme: applied research in QoL, mental health, wellbeing, Trauma, PTSS, PTSD, and interventions with vulnerable and challenged groups. He is also the author (with Klaus Boehnke) “I’m an alien in Deutschland: A quantitative mental health case study of African Immigrants in Germany published in 2010.


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