Christopher Shum - PG Researcher Profile

PhD Researcher

Course: Structured Ph.D.
Role: PhD Student
Qualifications: BA Psychology and Sociology at the University of Limerick (First Class Honours), MSc Human Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Edinburgh (Merit)

Research interests

Christopher’s research focuses on the impact of social emotional learning on psychological well-being among early adolescents, with a particular focus on emotion regulation and stress regulatory capacity. Additionally, Christopher has an interest in preventing mental health issues among children and adolescents through education on cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and neuroscience.

Project Supervisors

Dr. Jennifer McMahon and Dr. Samantha Dockray (UCC)

Project Title

Teaching children to connect thoughts and feelings: Does social emotional learning help adolescents cope with the transition into secondary school?

Project Description

Social emotional learning (SEL) programs have a positive impact on improving adolescent psychological well-being. It has been theorised that these improvements are influenced by the social emotional skills that the education develops such as emotion regulation. However, there has been little examination of the enduring benefit of SEL programs, or the effect of SEL on stress regulatory capacity, nor how the SEL programs may be especially useful at developmental transitions such as the transition into secondary school. The Motus program is an SEL workshop taught by psychology graduates, which is specifically tailored to early adolescents through gamification and involves education on cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and neuroscience. This project aims to investigate the relationship between SEL measures, stress regulatory capacity and psychological well-being and to test if the Motus SEL program significantly improves well-being outcomes across secondary school transition.

Project Funding

Faculty of Education and Health Sciences

Awards and Honours

Education and Health Sciences sPhD Fee Waiver Scholarship 2020


Shum, C. (2020). Mental Health Education: A buffer against Covid-19, Oral Presentation at the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Practitioners (BABCP) Symposium, London.

Shum, C. (2017). The role of future perception on the aging paradox, Poster presented at the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh.

Professional Memberships:

Teaching for Inclusion  (iTeach) Research Lab (University of Limerick)

Centre for Social Issues Research (CSI-R; University of Limerick)