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Grace McMahon


Qualifications:  Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology, University of Limerick.

Project Supervisors: Professor Stephen Gallagher & Dr Ann-Marie Creaven

Project Title: Evaluating the Impact of Attachment on Psychological and Physiological Health in Adolescents and Young Adults


Project Description: 

Overall, my research interests lie between health and developmental psychology. Specifically, I am interested in the impact that stress can have on the health of adolescents and young adults. Our social relationships (the support we receive from others, and the attachment bonds we maintain with others) are important for our health; particularly for improving our psychological well-being, and alleviating the damaging effect of stress on our cardiovascular system. 

As such, my thesis is focused on examining the role of social relationships (perceived social support, relationship quality and attachment bonds) as a mechanism for reducing the damaging effects of stress on the psychological and physiological (cardiovascular and cortisol responses to stress) health of adolescents and young adults.



  • Gallagher, S., O'Riordan, A., McMahon, G., & Creaven, A. M. (2018). Evaluating personality as a moderator of the association between life events stress and cardiovascular reactivity to acute stress. International Journal of Psychophysiology126, 52-59.
  • Muldoon, O. T., Beadleston, L., Kinsella, E. L., O’Donnell, A. T., Jay, S., McMahon, G., McMahon, J., Kearns, M. (2018). Working Hard and Playing Hard: Multiple Group Membership, Exercise and Cognitive Performance in Boys and Girls. (Submitted)
  • Creaven, A.M., Gallagher, S., McMahon, G. & Whittaker, A. (2017). A systematic review of the methodological features of cardiovascular reactivity-hypertension studies. PROSPERO 2017: CRD42017073964 Available from


Conference/Academic presentations:

  • European Health Psychology Society Conference, NUI Galway (22nd Aug 2018). (Oral)
  • Health Research Symposium, Clinical, Education and Research (CERC) Centre, University Hospital Limerick (17th November 2017). (Poster)
  • American Psychosomatic Society Annual Meeting, Seville, Spain (17th March 2017). (Poster)
  • Psychology Health and Medicine Conference, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin (3rd March 2017). (Oral)
  • Cardiovascular Reactivity Research Day: Me and My Thesis, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick (30th September 2016). (Oral)
  • Psychology, Health and Medicine Conference, University College Cork (27th May 2016). (Poster)
  • All-Ireland Conference for Undergraduate Research, University of Limerick (7th April 2016). (Oral)
  • Cardiovascular Reactivity: The Effects of Psychological Stress on Health Conference, University of Birmingham (12th June 2014). (Poster)


Awards and Honours:

Runner-Up award for ‘Outstanding Research’ for a presentation on ‘Providing passive social support to others during times of stress is associated with attenuated blood pressure reactivity’ at the Cardiovascular Reactivity: The Effects of Psychological Stress on Health Conference, University of Birmingham


Professional Memberships:

  • Study of Anxiety, Stress and Health Laboratory (SASH Lab), University of Limerick:
  • Centre for Social Issues Research (CSI-R), University of Limerick:
  • Health Research Institute, University of Limerick.
  • Psychological Society of Ireland
  • European Health Psychology Society

Course: Structured Ph.D.

Role: PhD Student