Prof Stephen Gallagher

Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Assistant Dean of Research Faculty of Education & Health Sciences

Keywords: Immunity Psychology Stress Social Support Reactivity

I am a health psychologist and a psychology lecturer (above the bar), in the Department of Psychology, and have been here in UL since 2010. In UL I am also a member of a number of research groups including the Health Research Institute, the Centre for Social Issues Research ( director of the Study of Anxiety, Stress and Health Lab (

My main research interests focus on the impact of stress, both chronic and acute, on health and well-being in humans. I am particularly interested in looking at how stress gets into the body to cause disease through biobehavioural pathways including hormones, (Cortisol/DHEA), the immune system (antibody responses) and the cardiovascular system (blood pressure). I am also interested in conducting positive psychological interventions to improve health as well as examining the determinants of physical activity in patients living with chronic illnesses.

I have a number of ongoing projects. One is looking at the stress of unemployment and its impact on the stress hormones cortisol and DHEA, while another study is delivering a randomised controlled trial of a benefit-finding intervention to caregivers. Lastly, I am doing some qualitative research on patients with chronic illnesses who are involved with physical activity interventions.


  • O’Connell, B., O’Shea, D., & Gallagher, S. (In Press). Enhancing social relationships through positive psychology activities: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Positive Psychology 10.1080/17439760.2015.1037860

  • Richardson, V.E., Bennett, K.M., Carr, D., Gallagher, S., Kim, J., & Fields, N. (2015). How Does Bereavement Get Under the Skin?  The Effects of Late Life Spousal Loss on Cortisol Levels. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences70 (3): 341-347. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbt116

  • Gallagher, S., Meaney, S., & Muldoon, O.T. (2014). Social identity influences stress appraisals and cardiovascular reactions in response to acute psychological stress. British Journal of Health Psychology 19, 566–579 doi: 10.1111/bjhp.12056

  • Gallagher, S., & Whiteley, J. (2012). Social support is associated with blood pressure responses in parents caring for children with developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 33, 2099-2105 doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.06.007

  • Burns, V.E., and Gallagher, S. (2010) Antibody response to vaccination as a marker of in vivo immune function in psychophysiological research. Neuroscience  Biobehavioral Review, 35, 122-126 (8) doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.01.005.

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