Margaret McLafferty PhD student

Psychology Research Institute
 Picture of Margaret   McLafferty

Start date: September 2014

Margaret holds a Master of Research (distinction) and a first class honours degree in Psychology from Ulster University. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Margaret worked for Aware Defeat Depression, a mental health charity, based in Northern Ireland for a number of years. Margaret also worked as a researcher on the CVSNI, Better Futures Report. Margaret volunteers for a number of local mental health related charities. She is an Associate Fellow of the HEA and a member of the British Psychological Society.

The main aim of Margaret’s thesis is to examine the impact of early childhood experiences on mental health and suicidality. Research has found that childhood adversities are key etiological factors in the onset and persistence of mental health problems. Parenting behaviours such as over-protection, over-control and over-indulgence can also impact negatively and may hinder a person from developing the ability to cope with future stressors. Margaret’s research will examine the impact of childhood adversities and maladaptive parenting practices on future psychopathology and wellbeing in Northern Ireland, focusing on factors which promote psychological wellbeing and the development of coping strategies.

Her research will include secondary data analyses of the Northern Ireland Study of Health and Stress (NISHS), examining the mental health impact of childhood adversities in the Northern Ireland population (n=1,986). Margaret is also co-ordinating a large scale longitudinal study to identify risk and protective factors for mental health and wellbeing, among Ulster University students, with emphasis on early life experiences as risk factors for mental health problems and suicidality. The Ulster University Student Wellbeing Study (UUSWS) is being conducted as part of the World Mental Health (WMH) International College Student Surveys.