Elayne Ahern

Elayne Ahern

Name: 
Elayne Ahern
email: 
elayne.ahern@ul.ie
Role: 
PhD Student
course: 
Structured Ph.D.
department: 
Psychology
profile: 

Qualifications

B.Sc. Psychology at the University of Limerick (1.1, First Class Honours)

 

Research interests

Elayne’s research focuses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of online psychological treatments for mental health, with a particular focus on depression. Furthermore, an interest in the extent and pattern of cognitive deficits throughout the course of depression and into clinical recovery has directed her research efforts towards developing innovative, online strategies to optimise recovery of everyday functioning, alongside mood restoration.

 

Project Supervisors

Dr. Maria Semkovska, Professor Stephen Kinsella

 

Project Title

Clinical and Economic Evaluation of Online Psychological Treatments to Promote Functional Recovery from Depression

 

Project Description

Depression is one of the most prevalent, chronic, and debilitating mental health disorders worldwide with considerable economic costs. Therefore, treatment accessibility and affordability remain a growing concern. The internet has helped facilitate access to evidence-based psychological treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, but there is further potential to use the low-cost and flexible nature of the internet to integrate and develop innovative treatment strategies. Additional treatment targets should be established to optimise recovery, such as addressing the cognitive deficits (also referred to as neurocognitive deficits, e.g. in attention, memory, and planning ability) that present alongside mood symptoms and often persist into recovery. Relative to mood, cognitive abilities are suggested to be more closely associated with everyday functioning and represent a mechanism by which a more complete functional recovery in social and work environments can be achieved.

The overall aim of this project is to investigate the potential of neurocognitively-enhanced online cognitive behavioural therapy to promote functional recovery among individuals with depressive symptoms.

 

Project Funding

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme (2018)

 

Awards and Honours

  • Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Programme 2018 
  • Education and Health Sciences SPhD Fee Waiver Scholarship 2018 (1-year fee waiver)
  • Education and Health Sciences SPhD Support Funding 2017 (awarded to attend Foundations of Economic Evaluation in Healthcare Summer School, University of York)
  • Awarded “Best Academic Performance (QCA) in B.Sc. Psychology 2016”
  • Awarded “Best Final Year Project in B.Sc. Psychology 2016”
  • University of Limerick Presidential List for Exceptional QCA (>3.5) for all eligible Autumn and Spring semesters (2012/2013 - 2015/2016 academic year)
  • UL40 Scholarship 2012 (recipient of one of 40 scholarships awarded to incoming students at the University of Limerick in recognition of the points achieved in his/her Leaving Certificate)

 

Publications

Ahern, E., Kinsella, S., & Semkovska, M. (2018). Clinical efficacy and economic evaluation of internet cognitive behavioural therapy for major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, 18(1), 25-41. doi: 10.1080/14737167.2018.1407245. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29145746

Ahern, E., & Semkovska, M. (2017). Cognitive functioning in the first-episode of major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuropsychology, 31(1), 52-72. doi: 10.1037/neu0000319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/neu0000319

Semkovska, M., & Ahern, E. (2017). Online neurocognitive remediation therapy to improve cognition in community-living individuals with a history of depression: A pilot study. Internet Interventions, 9(1), 7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.invent.2017.04.003. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214782916300665

Semkovska, M., Ahern, E., O’ Lonargáin, D., Lambe, S., & McLaughlin, D.M. (2015). Efficacy of neurocognitive remediation therapy during an acute depressive episode and following remission: Results from two randomised pilot studies. European Psychiatry, 30(S1), 403. doi: 10.1016/S0924-9338(15)31884-8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924933815318848

 

Presentations / Conferences

Poster Presentations

Ahern, E., Kinsella, S., & Semkovska, M. (2017, November). Clinical efficacy and economic evaluation of internet cognitive behavioural therapy for depression. Poster session presented at the Health Research Symposium, University Hospital Limerick, Ireland.

Ahern, E., Kinsella, S., & Semkovska, M. (2017, June). Clinical efficacy and economic evaluation of internet cognitive behavioural therapy for depression. Poster session presented at the mHealth: Behavioural Science and Mobile Technology Conference, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.

Semkovska, M., & Ahern, E. (2015, June). Neurocognitive therapy for depression: A pilot study. Poster session presented at the 12th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Athens, Greece.

Ahern, E., Semkovska, M., O’ Lonargáin, D., Lambe, S., & McLaughlin, D.M. (2014, October). Neurocognitive therapy for depression: A pilot study. Poster session presented at the University Limerick Hospital’s Research Symposium, Limerick, Ireland.

 

Oral Presentations

Ahern, E., Kinsella, S., & Semkovska, M. (2018, April). Clinical efficacy and economic evaluation of internet cognitive behavioural therapy for major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Oral session presented at the 5th European Society for Research on Internet Interventions Conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Ahern, E., Kinsella, S., & Semkovska, M. (2017, November). Can the internet facilitate the delivery of cognitive behavioural therapy for depression? Clinical efficacy and economic evaluation. Oral session presented at the Technology for Wellbeing Conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Ahern, E. (2017, March). The use of online psychological treatments for depression. Oral session presented at the SPhD in Psychology Prospective Students Information Session, University of Limerick, Ireland.

Semkovska, M., & Ahern, E. (2017, February). Establishing neurocognitive deficits as a treatment target in depression. Oral session presented at the Psychology Department Colloquia Series, University of Limerick, Ireland.

 

Teaching

Tutor and Teaching Assistant, Psychology Department, University of Limerick

  • Undergraduate Modules: Psychology and Everyday Life (PS4031), Psychology Theory and Method II (PS4042), Practical Psychology I (PS4041), Practical Psychology II (PS4052), Empirical Psychology I (PS4043), Empirical Psychology II (PS4034), Introduction to Research Methods (PS4033)
  • Postgraduate Modules: Advanced Analysis II (PS6032)

 

Memberships

  • European Society for Research on Internet Interventions
  • Psychological Society of Ireland
  • Health Research Institute (University of Limerick)
  • Centre for Social Issues Research (CSI-R; University of Limerick)

 

Profiles

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Elayne_Ahern