Dr Philippa Specker

Dr Philippa Specker

Research Associate
School of Psychology

Dr Philippa Specker is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Clinical Psychologist at the School of Psychology, UNSW Australia. Philippa is also a member of the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program, within the School of Psychology at UNSW.

Philippa's research focuses on understanding the psychological and environmental mechanisms that underpin psychological recovery and psychosocial adaption among people from refugee backgrounds. Her research program seeks to inform the development and delivery of evidence-based psychological treatments for refugee communities in Australia and overseas. Philippa is also interested in using research insights to improve access to, and the provision of, interventions for people from refugee backgrounds. 

Specific research areas include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, emotion regulation, emotion regulation flexibility, trauma and displacement, post-migration stress and adaption, and cross-cultural mental health. Her research includes experimental, longitudinal, and clinical treatment studies that have been published in leading journals, including Clinical Psychological Science, European Journal of Psychotraumatology, and Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy. Philippa has also written for The Conversation. Philippa predominantly works with refugee communities in Australia and Indonesia.

Philippa received a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from the University of Sydney, and a PhD/Master of Psychology (Clinical) from the University of New South Wales.

  • Journal articles | 2024
    Specker P; Liddell BJ; O’Donnell M; Bryant RA; Mau V; McMahon T; Byrow Y; Nickerson A, 2024, 'The Longitudinal Association Between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Emotion Dysregulation, and Postmigration Stressors Among Refugees', Clinical Psychological Science, 12, pp. 37 - 52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/21677026231164393
    Journal articles | 2024
    Specker P; Sheppes G; Nickerson A, 2024, 'Does Emotion Regulation Flexibility Work? Investigating the Effectiveness of Regulatory Selection Flexibility in Managing Negative Affect', Social Psychological and Personality Science, 15, pp. 561 - 569, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/19485506231189002
    Journal articles | 2023
    Nickerson A; Byrow Y; O’Donnell M; Bryant RA; Mau V; McMahon T; Hoffman J; Mastrogiovanni N; Specker P; Liddell BJ, 2023, 'The mental health effects of changing from insecure to secure visas for refugees', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 57, pp. 1486 - 1495, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00048674231177950
    Journal articles | 2023
    Specker P; Nickerson A, 2023, 'Investigating the effectiveness of instructing emotion regulation flexibility to individuals with low and high anxiety', Anxiety, Stress and Coping, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10615806.2023.2205641
    Journal articles | 2023
    Tissue A; Specker P; Hoffman J; Uppal S; Cloitre M; Neuner F; O’Donnell M; Nickerson A, 2023, 'Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation for Refugees Integrated With Narrative Exposure Therapy: A Case Study on the Treatment of PTSD and Emotion Dysregulation for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers', Clinical Case Studies, 22, pp. 285 - 306, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/15346501221133315
    Journal articles | 2022
    Jobson L; Willoughby C; Specker P; Wong J; Draganidis A; Lau W; Liddell B, 2022, 'Investigating the associations between cognitive appraisals, emotion regulation and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder among Asian American and European American trauma survivors', Scientific Reports, 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-22995-3
    Journal articles | 2022
    Specker P; Nickerson A, 2022, 'An Experimental Investigation of Spontaneous Emotion Regulation Variability, Negative Affect, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Traumatized Refugees', Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 15, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0001217
    Journal articles | 2020
    Byrow Y; Pajak R; Specker P; Nickerson A, 2020, 'Perceptions of mental health and perceived barriers to mental health help-seeking amongst refugees: A systematic review', Clinical Psychology Review, 75, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2019.101812
    Journal articles | 2019
    Specker P; Nickerson A, 2019, 'Investigating the relationship between distinctive patterns of emotion regulation, trauma exposure and psychopathology among refugees resettled in Australia: a latent class analysis', European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2019.1661814
    Journal articles | 2018
    Specker P; Liddell BJ; Byrow Y; Bryant RA; Nickerson A, 2018, 'A factor analytic investigation of DSM-5 PTSD symptoms in a culturally diverse sample of refugees resettled in Australia', Conflict and Health, 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13031-018-0155-z