School of Psychology

Welcome. The School of Psychology is housed in a purpose-built facility in the centre of campus. We are dynamic, innovative and recognised for our teaching, research, and community contribution. We have a suite of professionally accredited undergraduate and postgraduate (Higher Diploma, Masters and PhD) programmes. We also have two active and successful research streams: Brain & Behaviour, and Health & Wellbeing. Researchers from both have participated in acquiring major national and international funding awards and we continue to develop a strong profile in quantity and quality of research output.

 

22 February 2024

Research reveals links between adversity and self-harm

Teenagers in west of Ireland report decline in wellbeing and mental health Researchers at University of Galway have identified that young people who have suffered adversity in the home, among peers, or at school are substantially more at risk of self-harm. Academics at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and School of Psychology today published a report on mental health and wellbeing based on results from surveys of more than 15,000 young people in three counties – Galway, Mayo and Roscommon – between 2018 and 2022. The report, Adolescent Mental Health & Adversity - Profiles and Trends in the West of Ireland 2018-2022, examines statistics from Planet Youth surveys where pupils in 4th year in post-primary schools in the three counties self-report on a range of topics.  The research focused on patterns of adversity which young people experience across home, peer and school contexts to establish whether these are linked to mental health outcomes or self-harm behaviours. The researchers aim to use the study to identify protective factors and determine whether personal practices such as sleep and physical activity and whether friend or parental support and school safety are associated with better mental health outcomes and/or act as a buffer for adversity related risk. The full report can be viewed here https://www.universityofgalway.ie/cfrc/publications/researchpolicyreports/ Other key findings from the research are: Adversity increases risk of self-harm and is associated with poorer mental health outcomes among adolescents.  Health behaviours, like sleep and physical activity, and supports from parents, peers and schools, are associated with better mental health outcomes. Young people who experience adversity across multiple contexts (e.g., at home, in school, or with peers) are substantially more at risk of self-harm, compared to youth who do not experience adversity. Approximately 13% of the young people who had little likelihood/probability of experiencing adversity were likely to have self-harmed at some point in their life. This compared to 27% of the young people who experienced parental adversity; 37% of those who experienced adversity amongst peers; and 82% of those who experienced adversity in several ways. Depressive tendencies were highest for the group who experienced adversity across multiple contexts and lowest for the low adversity group. Girls and non-binary teens are more likely than boys to self-harm, and experience poorer mental health outcomes. Irish adolescents, and those from two-parent households, reported better mental health outcomes than adolescents from other family structures or cultural backgrounds. The research was conducted by Dr Charlotte Silke, Dr Bernadine Brady, Dr Caroline Heary and colleagues from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and School of Psychology at University of Galway. It was funded by the Health Research Board and undertaken in collaboration with Planet Youth, the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention and the National Suicide Research Foundation. Dr Charlotte Silke said:  "This research highlights an important link between youth adversity and mental health. Consistently, across each year, we found that experiencing adversity, in any setting - whether that's at home or at school - increases risk of self-harm and poor mental health, and youth who experience adversity across multiple contexts, for example, at home and at school, are at substantial risk. To fully understand the impact of adversity on young people we need to look at the contexts in which they are experiencing adversity." Dr Bernadine Brady said: “From a policy perspective, the link between adversity and poor mental health highlighted in this study underlines the need for prevention and early intervention services and supports to reduce adversity for children, young people and families. Key messages for young people, parents or guardians and schools are that factors such as sleep, physical activity, support from parents and friends and feeling safe at school are associated with better youth mental health.” Ends

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20 February 2024

University of Galway hosts national Sustainable Development Goals Champions

Student Sustainability Leadership Awards open for entries University of Galway has today hosted the Government of Ireland national Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Champions on campus. The 26 champions were selected by government to raise public awareness of the United Nations SDGs and include organisations such as the GAA, An Post, Tesco and the FAI.  University of Galway is the first university to hold the honour, recognising the leading role that it is playing in achieving and realising the ambitions of the 17 Goals, to improve human life and protect the environment. Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D., sent a message of support to the SDG Champions: “I’m delighted to see University of Galway hosting today’s SDG champions’ meeting, on the themes of Climate Action (SDG 13) and Partnerships (SDG17). Further and higher education institutions play a critical role in helping society to achieve the SDGs, through Education for Sustainable Development, academic research and teaching, and also through everyday practices. To achieve the SDGs, there is also a need for greater collaboration and partnerships. Universities are important places for developing these. It is very encouraging to see University of Galway taking a lead role in this, embedding the SDGs in their research, teaching and operations, and building partnerships, many of which have been represented today. Today’s event was a great opportunity for the SDG Champions to collaborate, share knowledge and learn from best practice examples of activities and partnerships taking place across the country, to achieve Agenda 2030.” University of Galway Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, said: “University of Galway is delighted to host the national SDG champions on campus. Our university community has defined sustainability and openness as two of our core values, and in this spirit we are making good use of our SDG Champion status to highlight the importance of the SDGs for our students, our society and our planet. University of Galway is proud to be ranked in the top 50 universities of the world for addressing the SDGs and the leading university in Ireland for this work and hosting all 26 champions in Galway is symbolic of our intent to continue those efforts.” The University of Galway’s SDG Champion status acknowledges many years of hard work embedding the SDGs on multiple levels across the University.  Ranked as the top university in Ireland (and #34 in the world) by Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for performance on the SDGs  Received Gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)  First in Europe to be awarded Green Lab certification Awarded the Green Campus Flag in 2019 and 2022 To advance SDG-related projects, the University has today launched the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards 2024. The awards recognise the leading role that students play in the transition to a sustainable future and aim to support student leaders that are dedicated and enthusiastic about developing a more sustainable campus and community.   Student Sustainability Leadership Awards are available for two current University of Galway students. Awardees will each receive an 8-week sponsored internship with the University’s Sustainability Office during summer 2024.  Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Deputy President and Registrar, said: “As SDG Champion, University of Galway advocates the UN Goals, and inspire others, especially those in higher education, to commit and contribute to Ireland achieving its targets. We are establishing a Sustainability Office to lead and promote sustainability in all aspects of University learning and research, culture, operations and governance structures, and to empower its diverse communities of staff, students and partners to co-create tomorrow's sustainable campus and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. The Student Sustainability Leadership Awards represent an excellent learning and leadership opportunity for enthusiastic students to work with our new Sustainability Office during the summer.” The deadline for entries to the Student Sustainability Leadership Awards is midday on Monday March 4th. Further information is available at: www.universityofgalway.ie/sustainability/  Ends  

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20 February 2024

Professor Sharon Glynn appointed Fulbright Ambassador for University of Galway

University of Galway Professor in Pathology Sharon Glynn has been appointed Fulbright Ambassador for the university. In the Ambassadorial role, Professor Glynn will offer guidance to University of Galway staff and students who wish to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to study, research or teach in the USA. She will also liaise with faculty and staff to grow new Ireland-USA networks and collaborations, through hosting Fulbright U.S. Scholars and Students. As a translational cancer researcher Professor Glynn is focused on identifying factors that influence cancer development and progression. During her 2022-2023 Fulbright Scholar Award, she visited Houston Methodist Research Institute and the University of Notre Dame Harper Cancer Research Institute to collaborate and learn from world-renowned experts in the field of triple negative breast cancer. Sharon also has an interest in early researcher career development and is the lead on a Marie Curie Sklodowska Actions (MSCA) doctoral training network. Fulbright Commission in Ireland Executive Director, Dr Dara Fitzgerald said:  “The Fulbright Commission is delighted to appoint Professor Sharon Glynn as Fulbright Ambassador for the University of Galway. As a Fulbright Alum, she will provide insight to students and staff who are considering visiting the U.S. through Fulbright scholarships. We look forward to reviewing applications from the University of Galway as part of the 2025-2026 Fulbright Irish Awards Competition.”   Fulbright-University of Galway Ambassador, Professor Sharon Glynn said: "I am delighted to be appointed as Fulbright Ambassador to University of Galway. In 2022, I was honoured to receive a Fulbright Scholar Award which granted me the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Our focus was on developing collaborations between our two institutes around new spatial pathological imaging techniques for triple negative breast cancer, with a view to gaining a better understanding of the factors that influence patient outcomes. “The Fulbright commission also sponsored a visit the University of Notre Dame, where I had the opportunity to speak to undergraduate students and faculty about opportunities for studying and teaching abroad in Ireland, and to develop additional research collaborations. Additionally, I spent three wonderful days at the Spring 2023 Chicago Fulbright Scholar Enrichment Seminar with fellow Fulbright awardees, and had the opportunity to present on prostate cancer related public health aspects in Ireland. I look forward to supporting faculty and students from University of Galway to partake in the outstanding opportunities afforded by a Fulbright Scholarship." The 2025-2026 Fulbright Irish Awards competition will open in August 2024. Visit www.fulbright.ie to learn more. The Fulbright Irish Awards provide grants and support for Irish citizens, and E.U. citizens who have been resident in the ROI for 5+ years, to research, study, or lecture in the USA. Opportunities are available in all disciplines. The Commission encourages applications from people from diverse backgrounds to all its schemes, programmes and activities. Ends

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International Students

In the School of Psychology approximately 100 visiting students from around the world take our modules each semester. We offer about 20 different modules over the course of the academic year to our visiting students. These range from foundational introductory courses to specialised final year electives. Therefore there is the opportunity for our visiting students to experience the full breadth and richness of psychological science during their time with us.

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