Understanding People within their Context
Understanding People within their Context
Understanding People within their Context

Muldoon, Orla, Prof.

Muldoon, Orla, Prof.

Prof. Orla Muldoon
+353 61 213175
sPhD Co-ordinator
Founding Chair
Psychology Department E1-029 University of Limerick Co. Limerick Ireland


Office Hours: Tuesday 12-1 and Wednesday 9-10


Biographical Details;


I joined University of Limerick in August 2007 to lead the development of the Department of Psychology. The attraction of this post was the University's commitment to the development of Psychology which matched my own loyalty to this discipline. Since graduating with first class honours in psychology from Queens University Belfast in 1993, I have been engaged in teaching and research in the area of applied social and developmental psychology. This commitment arises in part from a fascination with the subject matter of social psychology as well as a belief that theoretically grounded and methodologically sound psychological research can be a powerful and positive force for social change.

My research is very much informed by the social identity tradition as it allows the exploration of how group memberships - collective or social identities- are central to individual psychology and wider social and intergroup relations. My overarching research interests concern the impact of group memberships on social behaviours. I am interested in how perceiving one-self as a member of a religious, socio-economic or racial group can impact on views of the self and others, in how these group memberships are transmitted to and understood by children and young people and in how such memberships impact on physical and mental health. Issues of power and (dis)empowerment are of course central to our experiences of racial, national and gender groups, as some groups by their nature are more or less powerful than others. So my research often uses a political psychological approach to consider the manner in which social practices are recreated for the purposes of particular political projects.

Previous appointments were as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer and Director of Health and Social Issues Research Cluster at Queen's University Belfast (1998-2007) and Lecturer at University of Ulster, Magee College (1996-1998). In 1996, I held the John F Kennedy Scholarship which I used to study at social and political research methods University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. My PhD awarded in 1996 from Queens University Belfast received the Praxis Prize.

Research Interests
The application of the social identity approach to real world social issues
Understanding inter-group conflict and the role of identity in such conflicts
Examination of the social and psychological impact of adversity (e.g. poverty and political violence)
Development and change in social identities across the life-span
Identity complexity and multiple identities

Recently Completed Projects

Embodying the Imagined Community: the role of national identity and collective participation in the construction of Irishness (IRC Project)
Funded by the IRCHSS this thematic project examined what parades and public gatherings help tell us who we are as a nation. Our research project brings together researchers in crowd behaviour and identity (Professor S. Reicher in St Andrews and Dr. D. Bryan in Queens University Belfast) to examine how public displays of national identity represent and transform the ways in which we think about a national community. The research is examining St Patrick's Day and Easter 1916 commemorations as key occasions on which Ireland and Irishness are defined in the public eye, and investigating the effects these events have on those who take part as well as on broader society. See here for more details.  A number of related publications have now been published in peer reviewed journals (Joyce et al 2013; Perhson et al (forthcoming); Muldoon et al (forthcoming))

Revitalising Communities: A Framework for Assessing Social Change (IRC Project)
The Revitalising Communities project was a large-scale study undertaken by a group of researchers in the Department of Psychology (Dr Clifford Stevenson, Dr Niamh McNamara, and Prof Orla Muldoon) and the Department of Physical Education and Sports Science (Dr Ann MacPhail). The 2-year project was funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and it explored, through a series of four studies, the experiences of residents living in Moyross, Southill, Ballinacurra Weston, and St. Mary's Park. The full report is available at http://www.limerickregeneration.org/Revitalising%20Communities%20Report.pdf and a number of related publications have now been published in peer reviewed journals (McNamara et al., 2011, 2013).

The Legacy of the Troubles II: Trauma identity and remembrance (EUSSPPR via Borderaction 2006-2009 with QUB and UCD) and The Legacy of the Troubles: Mental health and attitudes to reconciliation (funded by The EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation via ADM/CP)A. In collaboration with Drs J.Kremer and K.Trew (QUB) Further details can be found here. A number of related publications have now been published in peer reviewed journals (Schmid & Muldoon (forthcoming) Muldoon & Downes, 2007; Muldoon et al, 2009; Lowe & Muldoon, 2011, Muldoon & Lowe, 2012).

Beyond Gross Divisions: National and religious identity combinations in Northern Ireland (ESRC funded project 2007-2008 with ARK and Psychology at QUB. See here for more details.

Intergenerational Transmission and Ethno-National Identity in the Border Area. Funded by the Higher Education Authority and in collaboration with Dr. Karen Trew (QUB) and Dr. Jennifer Todd, UCD. Further details can be found here.  A number of related publications have now been published in peer reviewed journals (Muldoon et al., 2007; Muldoon et al, 2008; Stevenson & Muldoon, 2010).

Current PhD Students


Previous PhD Students


Peer-reviewed Publications

Gallagher, S., Meaney, S., & Muldoon, O.T. (forthcoming). The influence of social identity processes on stress appraisals and cardiovascular reactions in response to acute psychological stress. British Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12056 (pdf)

Schmid, K., & Muldoon, O. T. (forthcoming). Perceived Threat, Social Identification, and Psychological WellBeing: The Effects of Political Conflict Exposure. Political Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/pops.12073 (pdf)

Pehrson, S., Reicher, S.D., Stevenson, C., & Muldoon, O.T. (forthcoming). Everybody's Irish? Multiculturalism on St Patrick's Day. British Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjso.12029 (pdf)

Walsh, R.S. Fortune, D. G. Gallagher, S. & Muldoon, O.T. (forthcoming): Acquired brain injury: combining social psychological and neuropsychological perspectives, Health Psychology Review, DOI:10.1080/17437199.2012.733914 (pdf)

Muldoon, O. T. (2013). Understanding the Impact of Political Violence in Childhood: A Theoretical review using a Social Identity Approach. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 8, 929-939. (pdf)

Joyce, C., Stevenson, C. & Muldoon, O. (2013), Claiming and displaying national identity: Irish traveller's and students strategic use of 'banal' and 'hot' national identity in talk. British Journal of Social Psychology,52, 3, 450-468. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2012.02097 (pdf)

Gallagher, S., O'Donnell, A. T., Minescu, A., & Muldoon, O. T. (2013). A commentary on 'The effects of identication with a support group on the mental health of people with multiple sclerosis'. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 75, 94-95

McNamara, N., Stevenson, C., & Muldoon, O. T. (2013). Community identity as resource and context: A mixed method investigation of coping and collective action in a disadvantaged community. European Journal of Social Psychology 43, 5, 393-403. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T. & O'Donnell, A.T. (2012). 'Running' an introductory module. Psychologist, 25, 11, 828-829.

Muldoon, O.T., & Lowe, R.D. (2012). Social Identity, Groups, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Political Psychology, 33, 2, 259-273. (pdf)

McNamara, N., Muldoon, O.T., Stevenson, C. & Slattery, E. (2011). Citizenship attributes as the basis for intergroup differentiation: Implicit and explicit intergroup evaluations. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 21, 3, 243-254. (pdf)

Lowe, R.D & Muldoon, O.T (2010) Religious and ethnonational identification and political violence. Ethnopolitics, 9, 1, 71-83.

Stevenson, C.P. & Muldoon, O.T. (2010). Identity claims in adolescence. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 583-599.(pdf)

McLaughlin, K., Muldoon, O.T. & Moutray, M. (2010) Gender, Gender roles and completion of nursing education: A longitudinal study. Nurse Education Today (pdf)

Trew, K., Muldoon, O.T., McKeown, G & McLaughlin, K. (2009). The media and memories of conflict in Northern Ireland. Journal of Children and Media, 3:2,185 - 203 (pdf)

McCullough, N., Muldoon, O. & Dempster, M (2009) Self-perception in overweight and obese children: a cross-sectional study. Child: Care, Health & Development. 35 3 357-364 (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T., Schmid, K. & Downes, C. (2009). Political Violence and Psychological well-being: the role of social identity. Applied Psychology, 58, 1, 129-145. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T., McLaughlin, K., Rougier, N. & Trew, K. (2008) Adolescents explanations of paramilitary involvement. Journal of Peace Research, 45, 5, 681-695 (pdf)

McLaughlin, K., Moutray, M. & Muldoon, O.T. (2008) The role of personality and self-efficacy in the selection and retention of successful nursing students: A longitudinal study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 211-221. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T., McLaughlin, K. & Trew, K. (2007). Adolescents' Perceptions of National Identification and Socialisation: a grounded analysis. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 579-594. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T., & Downes C. (2007). Social identity and prevalence of PTSD in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Psychiatry, 191, 146-149. (pdf)

MacGinty, R., Muldoon, O.T. & Ferguson, N. (2007). No War, No Peace: Northern Ireland after the Agreement. Political Psychology, 28, 1, 1-11.

Muldoon, O.T., Trew, K., Todd, J., McLaughlin, K & Rougier, N. (2007). The nature and meaning of identity in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement. Political Psychology, 28 ,189-103. (pdf)

 Stevenson, C.P., McCartney, G., Barnett, J., Muldoon, O & Trew, K. (2007) Barriers to healthy eating in adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 417-434 (pdf)

McLaughlin, K., Trew, K. & Muldoon, O.T. (2006). Religion, ethnicity and group identity: Adolescent's views. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 12 (3-4), 599-616.

Todd, J., Canas- Bottos, L., McLaughlin, K., Muldoon, O., Rougier, N., & Trew, K. (2006). The Moral Boundaries of the Nation: Subverting state borders and constituting national identity in the South Eastern border counties of the Irish State. Ethnopolitics.5, 4, 365-382. (pdf)

Muldoon O.T., Lowry, R, Prentice, G.. & Trew, K. (2005).The factor structure of the multidimensional measure of children's perceptions of control.  Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 647-657.

 Muldoon, O.T. (2004). Children of the Troubles: The impact of political violence in Northern Ireland. Journal of Social Issues, 60, 3, 453-468. (pdf)

Reilly, J., Byrne, C. & Muldoon, O.T. (2004). Young men as victims and perpetrators of violence Journal of Social Issues, 60, 3, 469-484. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T. & Reilly, J. (2003). Career choice in Nursing Students: Gendered constructs as psychological barriers. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 43, 1, 93-100.

Muldoon, O.T. (2003). Perceptions of stressful life events in Northern Irish school children: a longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 2, 193-201.

Muldoon, O.T. (2002). Adolescents and political conflict in Northern Ireland. Medicine, Conflict and Survival, 18, 102-104.

Muldoon, O. T. & Wilson, K. (2001). Ideological commitment, Experience of conflict and Adjustment in Northern Irish adolescents. Medicine, Conflict & Survival, 17, 112-124.(pdf)

Muldoon, O. T., Trew, K. & Kilpatrick, R. (2000). The Legacy of the Troubles on the Development of Young People. Youth and Society, 32, 1, 6-28.

Muldoon, O. T. (2000). Self-perceptions in Northern Irish children: A longitudinal study. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18, 65-80. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T. & Trew, K. (2000). Social group membership and self competence in Northern Irish children.  International Journal of Behavioural Development, 24, 3, 330-337. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T. & Trew, K. (2000). Children's experience and adjustment to conflict related events in Northern Ireland. Peace Psychology: Journal of Peace and Conflict, 6, 2, 157-176. (pdf)

Muldoon, O.T., Trew, K. & McWhirter, L. (1998). Perceptions of Stressful life events in ten year old Northern Irish children: A Ten Year comparison. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7, 1, 36-48.

Muldoon, O., Kilpatrick, R. & Leitch, R. (1996). The Benefits of New Circus for Young People in a residential setting. Childcare in Practice, 2, 3, 28-38.

Muldoon, O. & Kremer, J. (1995). Career aspirations, gender identity and job satisfaction in student nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 21, 544-550.

Muldoon, O. & Trew, K. (1995). Patterns of Stress Appraisal in Eight to Eleven year old Northern Irish children. Children's Environment's, 12, 1, 49-56 (pdf)


Publications in periodicals

Muldoon, O. (2003). On home ground. The Psychologist, 16, 7, 342. (pdf)

Muldoon (2002) NIBPS branch newsletter Children of the troubles: Growing up in Northern Ireland. May 2002 ISSN 1468-1633. (pdf)

Muldoon, O. (2001). Children of the Troubles. The Psychologist, 14, 12, 621. (pdf)

Muldoon. O. (1999). How 'The Troubles' have affected the children of Northern Ireland. Psychology Post, 11, 8-9. (pdf)

 Muldoon, O. (1994). Career aspirations, gender identity and job satisfaction in student nurses. An Bord Altranais News, 6, 3, 7. (pdf)


Kremer, J., Sheehy. N., Reilly, J., Trew, K. & Muldoon, O. (2003). Applying Social Psychology. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.


Book Chapters

Muldoon, O. T. (2013). Political Violence, Identity and Psychological Adjustment in Children. In Handbook of Resilience in Children of War (pp. 223-231). Springer New York.

Lowe, R. D., & Muldoon, O. (2012). 'Unexpected'and 'Inclusive'Social Identities in Intractable Conflict: The Case of Northern Ireland. Representations of Peace and Conflict, 187.

Muldoon, O.T., Lowe, R.D. Identity, Conflict, and the Experience of Trauma The Social Psychology of Intervention and Engagement Following Political Violence. In K.J. Jonas & T.A. Morton (eds) Restoring Civil Societies. DOI: 10.1002/9781118347683.ch12

Lowe, R.D., Muldoon, O.T., Schmid, K (2010). Expected and Unexpected Identity Combinations in Northern Ireland: Consequences for Identification, Threat, and Attitudes. In Scuzarello, S., Kinvall, C. & Munroe, K. On behalf of others. Oxford: OUP

Muldoon, O. McCullough, N. & Cassidy, C. (2009). Young peoples perceptions of political violence: the case of Northern Ireland. In B.K. Barber (ed) Adolescents and War. Oxford: OUP. (

Trew, K., Clark, C, McCartney, G., Barnett, J  & Muldoon, O. (2006). Adolescents, food choice and vegetarianism. pp247-262.

Harland, K., Morgan, T & Muldoon, O. (2005). The Nature of Youth Work in Northern Ireland: Purpose, Contribution and Challenges. Department of Education, NI.

Muldoon, O.T. (2004). The Cost of the Conflict: Children and the Northern Irish Troubles. Issue Editor, Journal of Social Issues, 60, 3.

Muldoon, O. (2003). The psychological impact of terrorist campaigns on societies, in A.Silke & Merari, A. (Eds). Terrorists, victims and society: Psychological perspective on terrorism and its consequences. Wiley.

Muldoon, O. & Cairns. E. (1999). Learning to cope: children, young people and war, in E. Frydenburg (Ed). Learning to cope. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Muldoon, O. & Reilly J. (1998). The Biology of Gender in K. Trew and J. Kremer (Eds) Gender and psychology. Arnold: London.

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