I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at UL. Prior to coming to UL I worked in the Centre for Occupational and Life Stress at NUI Galway and subsequently as lecturer in psychology at Mary Immaculate College.

My research focuses on the influence of personality and environmental factors on physiological responses to stress. Across nearly 10 years of research, my work has investigated what psychological constructs and social variables moderate how an individual responds to, and experiences, stress, focusing on both healthy populations and vulnerable groups. One of the main strands of my research programme examines the cardio-toxic personality known as Type D. This personality type has been associated with negative health outcomes in patient samples. My research programme was the first to examine why this personality type might confer increased risk of negative outcomes in patient samples by identifying that healthy Type D individuals, free from the confounding variables that disease diagnosis brings, also experienced negative health outcomes and altered patterns of physiological response to stress.

My current research projects are examining how sleep restriction impacts physiological responses to stress in both younger and older adults. I am currently the co-National Coordinator of the European Social Survey in Ireland for round 8.


Howard, S., O’Riordan, A. & Nolan, M. (2018). Cognitive Bias of Interpretation in Type D Personality: Associations with Physiological Indices of Arousal. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. 43 (3): 193-201. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-018-9397-1

Howard, S., Creaven, A-M., Hughes, B. M., O’Leary, É. D., & James, J. E. (2017). Perceived social support predicts lower cardiovascular reactivity to stress in older adults. Biological Psychology, 125, 70-75.  DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.02.006.

Howard, S., Hughes, B. M., & Myers, L. B. (2017). Repressive coping and cardiovascular reactivity to novel and recurrent stress. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 30, 562-574. DOI: 10.1080/10615806.2016.1274027 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10615806.2016.1274027

Creaven, A-M., Skowron, E. A., Hughes, B. M., Howard, S., & Loken, E. (2014). Dyadic concordance in mother and pre-schooler resting cardiovascular function varies by risk status. Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 142-152. DOI:  10.1002/dev.21098.

O’Leary, É. D., Howard, S., Hughes, B. M., & James, J. E. (2013). An experimental test of blunting using sleep-restriction as an acute stressor in Type D and non-Type D women. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 90, 37-43.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2013.02.006. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167876013000512

Howard, S., Hughes, B. M., & James, J. E. (2011). Type D personality and hemodynamic reactivity to laboratory stress in women. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 80, 96-102. [IF: 2.596].
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2011.02.006. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167876011000560?via%3Dihub