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The aim of our seminars is to support a network of people interested in research in Health Psychology and to provide opportunities for sharing and developing research ideas. The seminars take place once a month usually at lunchtime (1-2pm) in the School of Psychology. Please contact Valerie Parker ( to be added to our Events Mailing List. Everyone is welcome to attend!

Population Health & Health Services Research: Seminar Series 2018/19

This semester, the Health Behaviour Change Research Group, HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland, and the Health Promotion Research Centre have come together to run a joint seminar series to highlight research in the aera of population health and health services.

PHHSR seminars 2018 updated2

Making Healthcare Safer: Building an Evidence Base

Tuesday 25th September, 1.00pm - 2.00pm, (light lunch 12.30pm), AM101, School of Psychology, NUI Galway

‌ ‌Dr Paul O’Connor is a human factors psychologist, Lecturer in Primary Care, and research director of the Irish Centre for Applied Patient Safety and Simulation (ICAPSS). His research is concerned with improving human performance and safety in high risk work environments. He has carried out research in a wide range of high risk industries (e.g. civil aviation, offshore oil production), and the military. Since coming to NUIG he has been carrying out research in healthcare with the aim of improving patient safety and quality of care through addressing the human factors that contribute to poor performance.

Dr Sinéad Lydon is a psychologist and Lecturer in Quality and Patient Safety. She is involved with a number of ongoing projects which share the common aim of identifying factors that contribute to deficient patient safety and medical errors, improving the delivery and efficacy of medical education, and developing strategies and interventions to improve the quality of patient care delivered in healthcare settings.

Health Behaviour Change in France: Ulysses Project Visit

Tuesday 23rd October, 1.00pm - 2.00pm, (light lunch 12.30pm), AM101, School of Psychology, NUI Galway

Note: Both presentation are now availabe online HERE

This seminar will feature presentations from Alice Le Bonniec and Dr Alexandra Dima who are being hosted at NUI Galway by the Health Behaviour Change Research Group. Their visit forms part of an Irish Research Council Health Research Board Ulysses Award awarded to Dr Alexandra Dima and Dr Jenny Mc Sharry to foster new collaborations between Irish and French based researchers.

Alice le Bonniec, Epidaure, Prevention Department of Montpellier Cancer Institute
“What are the psychosocial determinants of participation in colorectal cancer screening? GPs’ and patients’ point of view”

Alice will present her thesis which aimed to study the psychosocial determinants of colorectal cancer screening participation. She will first introduce the topic of colorectal cancer screening in France and in Europe, and then she will present the three studies she performed for her doctoral work: one qualitative study conducted with general practitioners and two studies (qualitative and quantitative) with participants from the general population. Finally, the interest of crossing different theories and several methodologies in order to get a more complete perspective of colorectal cancer participation will be discussed (triangulation approach).

Alice Le Bonniec is a social psychologist and a PhD student in social and health psychology at the Epidaure, Prevention Department of Montpellier Cancer Institute. Alice completed a professional Masters degree at University Lyon 2 in 2013 (Lyon, France), and a research Masters degree at Paul Valery University in 2014 (Montpellier, France). She conducts research in the area of health behaviour and her PhD project explores psychosocial determinants of participation in colorectal cancer screening.

 Dr Alexandra Dima
“CoSMaS: developing a framework for collaborative self-management support in chronic conditions”

Managing chronic conditions is team work. Whether patients achieve and maintain good health and quality of life despite their condition depends not only on their interactions with a single healthcare professional. It is rather the global outcome of many interactions, and of how well these are coordinated to ensure comprehensive and efficient care. We have plenty of theories to guide health behavior change at an individual level, yet collaborative care is rarely the focus of theoretical models and rarely considered in the assessment of routine care or in intervention programmes. CoSMaS aims to address this gap by performing a systematic review of theories of collaborative self-management support from multiple disciplines, and a qualitative study of collaborative practices in routine care in France. I will present preliminary results of these two studies and discuss how collaborative care can be conceptualized in health services research from a behavioral and communication perspective. 

Dr Alexandra Dima is Postdoctoral Researcher in Health Psychology, currently Marie Curie Fellow in the HESPER laboratory (Health Services and Performance Research), Claude Bernard University Lyon 1.  Her main research focus is improving management of chronic conditions via collaborative care and patient empowerment. More specifically, she studies how people adjust psychologically to chronic conditions (e.g., chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, low back pain, asthma), how they manage their condition for example by taking medication or using healthcare services, how their health care providers support them in managing their health, and ultimately how self-management support services can be improved to produce sustainable changes in patients’ health and quality of life. She has performed research on diverse topics such as medication adherence, health care delivery, treatment beliefs, emotion regulation, health status disclosure, health literacy. She has a special interest in open science and methodology (e.g. psychometrics, use of electronic healthcare data in behavioral research, hierarchical longitudinal modeling).

Ill Treatment in the Irish Workplace - Findings from the Irish Workplace Behaviour Study

Tuesday 20th November, 1.00pm - 2.00pm, (light lunch 12.30pm), AM101, School of Psychology, NUI Galway

Dr Margaret Hodgins is a member of the Discipline of Health Promotion and  a principal investigator with the Health Promotion Research Centre. Her current research projects include the 'Irish Workplace Behaviour Study' a national study on workplace bullying, violence and incivility, and a study entitled 'Organisational Response to Workplace Bullying and Incivility in the University setting'. She is co-editor of a text book on Health Promotions Settings with Dr. Angela Scriven from Brunel University, and has recently co-authored a text on Workplace Health Promotion with Professor Paul Fleming (University of Southhampton) and Mr John Griffith (Work2Health, Cardiff).

HBCRG seminars 2018 updated

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HBCRG seminar May 2018

Promoting physical activity in long-term conditions – rheumatoid arthritis

Short summary: Physical activity is a core part in the management of long-term conditions. Long-term conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis make being physically active challenging. This talk will outline the development of an intervention to promote physical activity in people who have rheumatoid arthritis and explore the factors physical activity promotion in long-term conditions.

Bio: Dr. Louise Larkin graduated from the University of Limerick in 2011 with a BSc in Physiotherapy (hons). Louise has completed her MSc (Research and Thesis) and PhD at the University of Limerick in the area of physical activity and behaviour change in inflammatory arthritis. Louise's primary research interests are in the fields of physical activity and behaviour change in the primary care setting. Louise has clinical experience in both the public and private sectors in Ireland, having worked in the areas of musculoskeletal, neurology, rheumatology and gerontology. Louise's current roles at the University of Limerick are Physiotherapy Practice Tutor in Galway Primary, Community and Continuing Care (part-time) and also Lecturer below the bar in Physiotherapy (part-time). Louise is a current member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists and the Irish Rheumatology Health Professionals Society.

HBCRG seminar HDelaney Apr2018

Walking and cycling journeys on shared-use paths; the user perspective

The slides from Hannah's presentation are availabe here: Presentation slides

Summary: This seminar presents the findings from a mixed methods study involving video ethnographies, in-depth interviews and on-site surveys. Cyclists’ and pedestrians’ journey experiences on shared-use paths are explored through; the individual journey, the shared journey and the path environment. The importance of the embodied and sensory experiences related to walking and cycling is firstly considered. The types of interactions that take place between cyclists and pedestrians on shared-use paths, and the negotiation strategies employed to effectively share space, are then discussed. Finally, path users’ perceptions and expectations of shared-use paths are outlined.

Bio: Dr Hannah Delaney is a Senior Researcher on the Health Policy team at the Scottish Centre for Social Research, in Edinburgh (ScotCen). Hannah is from Galway and completed her BA at NUI Galway in 2008. She qualified from King’s College London with an MSc in ‘Cities Culture and Social Change’ in 2010, where she developed an interest in healthy cities and active travel. Hannah took a research position with the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, in 2011; working on a national study promoting active travel to school (BikeIt). Hannah obtained her PhD from the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England in 2016. Her PhD research explored ‘Walking and Cycling Interactions on Shared-Use Paths,’ through in-depth interviews, video ethnographies and on-site surveys. Since joining the Health Policy team at ScotCen Hannah manages a variety of research projects, extending her interests to: health behaviours, tobacco control, life course research, user-centred research.

‌‌HBCRG seminar PCarroll Mar2018

Men on the Move Presentation  (Click here for the presentation with embedded voice recording).  Note: To watch the presentation and listen to the podcast, please open in PowerPoint and watch the presentation as a slideshow, with your speakers turned on.

Paula has recently published a protoal paper on her research in the Journal of Physical Activity Research. Click here to download.

Summary: This seminar will detail the journey from an ‘idea’ to a national efficacy and replicability trial of Men on the Move, a community based PA programme for inactive men. Both the process of designing, developing and implementing the programme across 8 counties, engaging over 900 men will be detailed along with the outcome biopsychosocial measures recorded up to 52 weeks. Qualitative data from participant interviews will also be presented to illuminate the personal impact of participation on the men’s overall health and well-being. Finally, the potential trajectory for Men on the Move to national scale up will be presented.

Bio: Dr Paula Carrolls’ primary research interest is action based health promotion. She is currently the PI for the national Men on the Move study; a 12-month study that investigated the delivery process and the impact of a community-based health promotion programme for inactive men in Ireland (n=906 across 8 counties). She also has considerable experience of cross-sectoral collaboration regarding health policy, training and research both nationally and internationally; she is co-author of the worlds’ first National Men’s Health Policy (2008) and the subsequent National Men’s Health Action Plan (2016); she co-authored the worlds’ only national men’s health training programme, ENGAGE that is funded by the HSE; from 2012-2016, as a lead facilitator, she trained 74 ENGAGE trainers via a Training of Trainers (ToT) model who delivered a 1-day ENGAGE training programme to over 1200 front line service providers; she has worked with the HSE and National Youth Council of Ireland to develop and deliver Facilitation Skills training to health promotion staff and youth sector workers nationally; she is a co-applicant on a weight loss intervention study, lead by staff at Stirling University that is investigating text based narratives to promote weight loss among men; and she was an advisor to a) a systematic review of male weight loss and obesity that was led by staff at the University of Aberdeen and b) a review of men’s food the health behaviour (Safefood Ireland). Married with three young children and living on a dairy farm in Kildare, she endeavours to practice her health promotion ethos in her life so that she can support others (individuals and systems) to make healthy choices for the better of themselves and the whole of society.

Details on Dr Hannah Delaney's and Dr Louise Larkin's seminars to follow shortly. To join our Events mailing list, please email

Seminar series 2018

HBCRG seminar KDowd Feb2018

Presentation Title: The Why, What and How of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Measurement

Kieran Dowd Seminar Presentation Feb 2018 - PDF flie (click link to download)

Kieran Dowd Seminar Presentation Feb 2018 - Audio Recording (click link to listen via SoundCloud)

Summary: It is widely accepted that regular participation in physical activity is beneficial for health, while we are gaining a better understanding of the effects of increased time spent in sedentary behaviours on chronic disease risk factors. However, little is known of the effect of other free-living activity behaviours, such as standing time or physical activity which requires low levels of energy expenditure, on health markers. To date, we have also struggled to modify such activity behaviours via interventions in any meaningful way at a population level. This has been attributed to issues with the identification of determinants of physical activity and sedentary behaviour. 

It has been proposed that the measurement of such ubiquitous free-living behaviours has been a significant limitation in i) accurately determining the effect of free-living activity behaviours on health, ii) identifying the determinants of free-living activity behaviours and iii) determining the effectiveness of interventions to modify free-living activity behaviours. This presentation aims to describe why it is important to address these specific issues, some additional physical activity behaviours that may be worthwhile examining and provides some recommendations on how such behaviours should be examined.

Short Bio: Dr Kieran Dowd qualified from the University of Limerick in 2007 with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Physical Education teaching. In 2012, he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Limerick. His Ph.D. research focused on developing accurate and effective methods of examining physical activity and sedentary behaviours using accelerometry. This research also aimed to examined associations between such activity behaviours and indices of health in youth populations. 
Kieran’s post-doctoral research was part of the Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity Knowledge Hub (DEDIPAC KH). Kieran’s primary role within this project was to critically evaluate the state of the art techniques for physical activity and sedentary behaviour measurement. 
Kieran currently lectures on the new B.Sc. (Honours) in Physical Activity and Health in Athlone Institute of Technology. Kieran continues to collaborate and consult on projects in relation to measurement across Europe.

Seminar series 2017


Biography: Kieran is a 4th year SPHeRE (Structured Population and Health Services Research Education) PhD Scholar based in University College Cork. Kieran is also a practising community pharmacist. His PhD is focusing on optimising the prescribing of antipsychotics to people with dementia in long term care settings. More broadly, he is interested in dementia research, mixed-methods research, public and patient involvement, healthcare professional behaviour change and implementation science. He has published several articles in journals such as Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, Age and Ageing and International Psychogeriatrics, and has recently been a co-author on a New England Journal of Medicine publication. He has presented his findings at national and international conferences.

About the presentation:  The title of Kieran’s thesis is Rationalising Antipsychotic Prescribing in Dementia: A Mixed Methods Investigation. The overall aim of his thesis is to assess the feasibility of a theoretically-informed, evidence-based intervention to rationalise antipsychotic prescribing in nursing home residents with dementia. The upcoming seminar will describe Kieran’s research to-date, and how he utilised the Behaviour Change Wheel to develop a complex intervention, the RAPID study (Rationalising Antipsychotic Prescribing in Dementia). He will update us on the progress of this mixed-methods feasibility study as well outlining future policy and practice implications stemming from his research.

HBCRG seminar MByrne Nov2017

Bio: Dr Mitch Byrne is a practicing Clinical Psychologist and Forensic Psychologist. He is also a full time academic at the University of Wollongong in NSW, Australia. His applied experience includes disability, early childhood services, adult mental health (including 3 years at the Bassetlaw NHS Trust in Worksop, North Nottinghamshire as Consultant Clinical Psychologist), prisons and probation services, and ongoing private practice. His research interests are varied, including medication adherence, PTSD, omega-3 and behaviour, family law, psychopathy, violence, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Mitch has been researching adherence issues since 2002 and completed his PhD on Medication Adherence in 2008, receiving the Australian Psychological Society’s annual national “Best PhD” award. He is passionate about translational research and the education of post graduate psychologists and has been Director of Clinical Training at the University of Wollongong.

Presentation synopsis: Medication Adherence is a controversial concept, particularly in psychiatry, where the contemporary philosophical ethos is patient self-determination and the process of recovery. None-the-less, medications play a pivotal role in health care and patient decisions not to use medications as prescribed can have significant effects on the patient, their families and the health care system. Many factors influence a person’s ability or choice to engage in pharmaceutical treatments and it is the responsibility of the health care provider to understand the reasons why patient’s may or may not adhere, and how to work with them for the best health outcomes. This presentation outlines a decade and a half of research into the Medication Alliance model, addressing both inpatient and outpatient factors in mental health, the role of carers, and the extension of adherence concepts to other chronic health conditions. The emerging area of comorbid health issues for those on psychotropic medications, such as diabetes, will also be discussed.

Mitch's presentation is available HERE: Medication Adherence presentation Dr Mitch Byrne

HBCRG seminar Oct 2017

Drs Molly Byrne, Jenny Mc Sharry and Elaine Toomey of the Health Behaviour Change Research Group all spent time in Canada during summer 2017, and will discuss their experiences at our upcoming HBCRG seminar. Molly received the James M. Flaherty visiting professorship award for a 10-week research visit, during which time she visited three Canadian centres: the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Behaviour Change Institute, Capital Health Nova Scotia. At the Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, she worked with Drs Simon Bacon and Kim Lavoie of the International Behavioural Trials Network. At the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Behaviour Change Institute in Nova Scotia, she collaborated to build international research in the emerging areas of Implementation Science and health promotion interventions for young adults with Type 1 diabetes. Both Jenny and Elaine presented at the Global Implementation Conference in Toronto, while Elaine completed a 6-week research placement at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and also presented at Knowledge Translation Canada in Quebec.

HBCRG seminar POS Sept 2017

Title: Dog-bite fatalities and breed-specific legislation: Putting the evidence back into evidence-based policy

About the presentation: This seminar will focus on Dr. Ó Súilleabháin’s ongoing work from conducting research in human-animal interaction to engaging with government officials, including policy makers. This seminar will outline the scientific research on factors in dog-bite fatalities, and the assertion pertaining to the relevance of a dog’s breed within this context. The juxtaposition of these findings with public opinion, and resulting political narratives will also be discussed. In doing so, Dr. Ó Súilleabháin will outline the challenges he believes face implementing evidence-based policy, and potential strategies in their navigation. Strategies in the greeting or avoidance of dogs will also be provided!

Bio: Páraic is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the area of personality and stress psychophysiology at the School of Psychology, the National University of Ireland, Galway. His secondary research interest is in the area of human-animal interaction, which is the focus of this seminar. More specifically, Páraic conducts research in dog-bite risk factors, and resulting public policy. His work has gained considerable attention from both national, and international news media. Within this area, he has also been interviewed for several documentaries, and disseminated research within the context of law reform and policy formation within several countries. He has also provided research evidence at court proceedings. His work in this area has also been recognised by the Mayor of Galway City, with a Gradaim an Mhéara award for public engagement in the dissemination of peer-reviewed research with public policy implications in both national, and wider international communities.

Dr. Páraic Ó Súilleabháin, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway.

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HBCRG PhD May2017

 PhD scholars within the HBCRG will present for our last seminar of the semester. 

  •  Milou Fredrix, HRB scholar, will present on 'Exploring the implementation and effectiveness of goal-setting techniques in diabetes self-management interventions'
  • Caragh Flannery, HRB SPHeRE scholar, will present on 'Exploring the feasibility and potential effectiveness of a technology supported behaviour change intervention for physical activity during pregnancy'
  • Marita Hennessy, HRB SPHeRE scholar, will present on 'Informing the development of early-life interventions delivered by health professionals to prevent childhood obesity'

HBCRG ET seminar Mar2017

Title: Research transparency and the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS)

Summary: Dr Toomey was awarded a Leamer-Rosenthal prize for open social science from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) in December 2016. This seminar is on research transparency and the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS). The talk will focus on the importance of research transparency and the background to the development of BITS including their aims, ethos and ongoing work. It will also highlight areas of particular relevance and interest such as BITSS resources, training events and sources of funding and awards. Finally, a brief summary of the 2016 BITSS annual meeting will be provided and potential avenues for collaboration and training in NUIG explored.

Bio: Elaine is a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) post-doctoral research fellow. She is currently involved in the development of a complex intervention to enhance infant feeding practices with a goal of improving childhood obesity outcomes. Her PhD in University College Dublin focused on using mixed methods to evaluate implementation fidelity within behaviour change interventions to promote self-management in people with chronic low back pain and/or osteoarthritis, while her MSc from the University of Limerick explored clinical interventions for non-ambulatory people with Multiple Sclerosis. She also works clinically part-time in a physiotherapy practice. Her research interests include clinical trials, mixed methods, implementation science, behaviour change and narrowing the gap between research and practice, in both physiotherapy and broader public health fields. 

HBCRG DK seminar

Dominika's presentation slides are availble at this link: DKwasnicka Novel Research Methods

Bio: Dominika is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Research Group, Curtin University, Perth, Australia and is also affiliated with the Physical Activity Research Group, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia. Her research interests focus broadly on maintenance of behaviour change in public health. Her main interests are motives for behaviour maintenance, habits, self-regulation, and coping with behavioural barriers. She is interested in exploring how environment and social networks influence behaviour and how availability of physical and psychological resources shapes how people change and maintain health behaviours. Dominika received a prestigious Herman Schaalma Award for her PhD research that she will present during the upcoming seminar. 

About the presentation: Changing health behaviours is not easy, and maintaining them long term can be also very challenging. Consider keeping your weight off once you lost it, or maintaining your exercise habits once you have started training.The upcoming presentation will focus on health behaviour change maintenance, with a particular focus on weight. It will include a description of three recent studies employing multi-method approach to explore behaviour maintenance. First, a systematic review of behavioural theories to identify theoretical explanations for behaviour maintenance. Second , a N-of-1 study which employing ecologic momentary assessment, wireless body scales, and activity monitors to measure theoretical predictors of maintained behaviour in previously obese people who had lost weight. Third, a data-prompted longitudinal study with individuals who participated in the N-of-1 study to explore their experiences of behaviour maintenance, prompted by personal data including summaries of N-of-1 data, pictures, notes and graphs. The presentation will include discussion of main theoretical themes underpinning behaviour maintenance: motives, self-regulation, habits, psychological resources, and environmental and social influences.

HBCRG Seminar Series Autumn 2016

HBCRG Seminar Nov16
HBCRG Seminar Oct16
HBCRG seminar Sept 2016

HBCRG Seminar Series Spring / Summer 2016

HBCRG seminar July2016
HBCRG seminar GMadden 13June
HBCRG seminar 02June2016
HBCRG seminar May2016

HBCRG seminar 14Apr16


HBCRG seminar March16


HBCRG Seminar 11Feb16 edit

HBCRG Seminar Series Autumn 2015