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Dr. Stephen Gallagher



Associate Professor in Health Psychology. Stephen Gallagher is a health psychologist and a Professor in the Psychology Department here in UL and has been here since August 2010. My main research interests focus on the impact of stress on health and well-being. I am particularly interested in the impact of psychosocial factors on health via interactions between the neuroendocrine and immune systems. My current research is looking at the psychological and social factors that are associated with caregiver health as well as those experiencing unemployment, both of who are under chronic stress. We are also involved with designing and delivery of number interventions (e.g. stress management, positive psychology, and physical activity) to improve health and well-being for carers, the general population as well those with chronic illnesses. I am also using laboratory-based research to examine the buffering role of social support on cardiovascular reactivity and immunity. I am also a member of the Centre for Social Issues Research and the Health Research Institute and Director of the Study of Anxiety, Stress & Health Laboratory here in UL, Stephen has published extensively in the areas described above, with national and international research teams and his research has been funded by the Irish Research Council, Health Research Board, and Research Institutes in the USA. He would be interested in supervising Postdoctoral or PhD projects in some of the areas described above. Please send an e-mail to Stephen for possible opportunities.

Research Interests

My main research interests are on stress and health, with a particular focus on how stress gets inside the body via biobehavioural pathways including immune, hormonal and cardiovascular biomarkers. In terms of stress, I use a variety of paradigms including life events stress (e.g. bereavement), chronic (e.g, caregiving, unemployment and long-term conditions) and acute stress (e.g,. exams and maths tasks) as well as conduct both observational and experimental studies including psychosocial and positive psychology interventions. My lab group ( and our  health and psychophysiology laboratory have two experimental testing rooms and a wet-lab. These are equipped with full cardiovascular monitoring equipment with several Dinamaps, and a Finometer Pro which allows for beat-to-beat continuous hemodynamic monitoring. The labs also have plate readers, incubators, centrifuge and the capability to assess a range of hormonal and immune biomarkers and we tend to look at cortisol, DHEA, and secretory immunoglobulin A.  Some of the projects I am currently involved with include examining the biological correlates of caregiving and unemployment as well as the stress of bullying in the workplace; other projects are looking at how loneliness and social relationships affect our health via cardiovascular and hormonal interactions. While our interventions focus on improving social relations via gratitude and benefit finding with other studies investigating health behaviour interventions to those managing and living with long-terms conditions (e.g, multiple  sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis). In terms of collaborations, my group has several local (UL), and national (NUI-G, UCC, MIC, UCD), and international projects (UK, US) that are on-going and we would be keen to develop other collaborations if they fit with our agenda. Thus, feel free to get in touch with me if you think we have shared interests.   

Teaching Interests

Undergraduate: Theory & Method 1; Health Psychology; Biological Bases of Behaviour
Postgraduate:  Social Influence & Attitude Change            

Professional Activities


  • 2010 Affilation and support for psychologists in Ireland, Psychological Society of Ireland
  • 2005 Support and network for Health Psychologists, Division of Health Psychology, British Psychological Society, UK
  • 2003 Professional body for psycholgist, British Psychological Society, UK


  • - Ratcliffe Prize, 2009,
  • - Deanery Prize Winner


Book Chapter


Gallagher, Stephen and Warren Tierney
Encyclopedia of behavioral medicine DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9


Gallagher, S & Tierney, W
Encyclopedia of Behavioural Medicine


Gallagher, Stephen and Tierney Warren
Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9,

Other Publication


Gallagher, S & Tierney, W


Gallagher, S & Tierney, W

Peer Reviewed Journal


'Happy and a bit Nervous': the experiences of children with autism in physical education
Healy, S,Msetfi, R,Gallagher, S
British Journal Of Learning Disabilities DOI: 10.1111/bld.12053


How Does Bereavement Get Under the Skin? The Effects of Late-Life Spousal Loss on Cortisol Levels.
Richardson VE, Bennett KM, Carr D, Gallagher S, Kim J, Fields N
The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbt116


A commentary on ‘The effects of identification with a support group on the mental health of people with multiple sclerosis
Stephen Gallagher, Aisling T. O' Donnell, Anca Minescu and Orla T. Muldoon
Journal Of Psychosomatic Research DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.07.004


Social support, social intimacy, and cardiovascular reactions to acute psychological stress.
Phillips AC, Gallagher S, Carroll D
Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine DOI: 10.1007/s12160-008-9077-0


Symptoms of depression in non-routine caregivers: the role of caregiver strain and burden.
Phillips AC, Gallagher S, Hunt K, Der G, Carroll D
The British journal of clinical psychology / the British Psychological Society DOI: 10.1348/014466508X397142


Predictors of psychological morbidity in parents of children with intellectual disabilities.
Gallagher S, Phillips AC, Oliver C, Carroll D
Journal of pediatric psychology DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsn040


Caregiving is associated with low secretion rates of immunoglobulin A in saliva.
Gallagher, S; Phillips, AC; Evans, P; Der, G; Hunt, K; Carroll, D
Brain Behav. Immun.


Psychosocial factors are associated with the antibody response to both thymus-dependent and thymus-independent vaccines.
Gallagher S, Phillips AC, Ferraro AJ, Drayson MT, Carroll D
Brain, behavior, and immunity DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2007.10.018


A comparison of acute and long-term health-care personnel's attitudes towards older adults.
Gallagher S, Bennett KM, Halford JC
International journal of nursing practice DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2006.00582.x