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Our Research

Snapshots of Child and Youth Research across Trinity College Dublin

Trinity researchers are engaged in world leading transformative projects in all aspects of children's lives. These are carried out in diverse settings ranging from the laboratory to the child's home. Individual scholarly work examining historical and contemporary aspects of children's lives sits alongside multidisciplinary studies designed to inform interventions to improve the health and welfare of children. Our work is marked by this collegiate approaches which blur traditional subject boundaries in our pursuit of answers to all embracing research questions.

On this page you will gain a glimpse into some of the research projects for and with children and young people underway across Trinity College Dublin. We also invite you to Our Researchers' pages to explore the wider range of research interests being pursued across the university.

For a peek into the work of our PhD Researchers, head over to our PhD Research page.

Snapshot Categories

Snapshot: Recent Publications

Article by Pablo Gracia, Assistant Professor, Trinity College Dublin School of Sociology and Joan García-Román, University of Barcelona Centre for Demographic Studies, published in European Sociological Review

Photo of a boy looking at a smart phone

Do children increase their screen time and study less when parents work evenings? Spanish data suggest 'yes', but only among children with less-educated mothers.

Interaction effects with Spanish time-diary data illustrate well the heterogeneous impact of mothers' evening work on children's developmental activities. Interestingly, differences by fathers' work schedules in children's time use are trivial, while there are no meaningful educational differences in this regard. Yet, we find a a robust 'weekend reverse' (a partly compensatory pattern): On Saturdays and Sundays, children with evening-working mothers spend about 30 daily minutes more in educational & socialising time with parents, compared to children with mothers working standard hours.

Gracia, P. & García-Román, J. (2018) Child and Adolescent Developmental Activities and Time Use in Spain: The Gendered Role of Parents’ Work Schedules and Education Levels. European Sociological Review, jcy029, https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcy029

Assistant Professor Pablo Gracia

Contact Assistant Professor Pablo Gracia for more information on his research

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Article by Assistant Professor Olive Healy and colleagues, Trinity School of Psychology, published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The study entitled “An Analysis of Reading Abilities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders” examined the reading performance of a nationally representative sample of 110 children and highlights the severe deficits present in this population with regard to core reading components.

Photo of a girl reading and the journal

Many participants performed within the lowest possible range on standardized tests (standard score ≤55), in particular with regard to comprehension (82%) and phonemic awareness (62%). Autism symptomatology severity was found to be predictive of language scores suggesting that individuals presenting with more severe symptoms of autism demonstrated the most reading deficits.

Nally, A., Healy, O., Holloway, J., & Lydon, H. (2018). An Analysis of Reading Abilities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Read the Article

Professor Olive Healy

Contact Assistant Professor Olive Healy for more information on her research

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Snapshot: EU Commission Horizon 2020 project

Exploring care interfaces for children with complex needs across Europe: School of Nursing and Midwifery

Photo of the MOCHA WP2 group in Dublin

Dr Maria Brenner, Associate Professor in Children’s Nursing, leads an international team of researchers exploring the care of children with complex needs at the acute community interface across the EU/EEA. This is part of a three and a half year, €6.8m programme, Models of Child Health Appraised (MOCHA), funded by the EU Commission Horizon 2020 programme. TCD is the second largest partner in this programme of research and the research team comprises paediatricians, nurse academics, social care experts, qualitative methodologists and statisticians.

Collectively the team are investigating the acute/community care interface for children with complex physical health needs and children with enduring mental health care needs across the following areas: pathways of referral and discharge; current management of complex care needs; links with social care; nursing training and education; and family experiences. Comparative work arising from this is ongoing with colleagues in Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard University and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne.

The team have delivered four substantial reports to the EU Commission to date, focusing on core principles of access to care, co-creation of care, and strengthening governance. Reports are available on the publications page of the MOCHA website. Ongoing dissemination includes invited lectures, peer-reviewed papers, workshops and conference presentations. The project concludes in November 2018.

Dr Maria Brenner

For further information please contact Dr Maria Brenner

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Snapshot: Trinity Research impacting Programming in Schools

Language Explorers

Photo related to the Language Explorers programme

Francesca La Morgia from the Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies developed a programme for primary schools designed to promote an interest in languages from an early age and to raise awareness of linguistic diversity in the classroom and in the community.

The programme, called Language Explorers, was first piloted in an inner city school, and it was very well received by children and their families. It increased the children's awareness of sounds from different languages, and it also allowed children who use a foreign language at home to practice it in school and through homework.

Assistant Professor Francesca La Morgia

You can follow updates on the programme on Twitter @FraLaMorgia , #LanguageExplorers or on the website https://mothertongues.ie/

Snapshot: Trinity research reaching young people and families through Online Information and Education Programmes

Stepping Up Support for Young People with Chronic Illnesses: Ireland’s first website to help young people move from child to adult care services

Photo from the SteppingUP launch

Developed by Professor Imelda Coyne and a team of researchers in Trinity College Dublin’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, in partnership with young people with long-term illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis, Type 1 diabetes and congenital heart disease, SteppingUP.ie offers video testimonials, downloadable stories and tips and information on managing the transition, becoming more independent, knowing about medications and the differences between child and adult services.

Findings from a major research project being conducted at the School of Nursing and Midwifery have shown that young people with long-term illnesses, need better support and preparation to make a successful and positive transition from accessing health supports in a children’s hospital environment to an adult health system.

Professor Imelda Coyne, lead researcher for the SteppingUP.ie project and Professor in Children’s Nursing at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin said: “At the moment in Ireland, there is very little information available to young people and their families on the transition process. This website is the first of its kind and we hope that it will be useful for young people who are thinking about and planning to make the transition to adult services, as we know from our research that the move can be difficult for some. SteppingUP.ie is one way of helping equip young people with knowledge and skills so that the move to adult services is made a bit easier.”

Read the full press release

Professor Imelda Coyne

Contact Professor Imelda Coyne for more information on the SteppingUP.ie project

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GenderEd.ie: a free online education programme for families of transgender young people.

Gender Ed steps

GenderEd.ie is a free online information resource and education programme for families of gender variant children and transgender young people in the Republic of Ireland.

The website was developed as part of Danika Sharek's PhD research at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, under the supervision and support of Dr Edward McCann and Sylvia Huntley-Moore. Information and education-seeking has been identified as a positive action for families, helping them in acceptance and support of a trans family member. Such acceptance and support has been associated with more positive health outcomes for these young people. GenderEd.ie facilitates this interaction.

Danika Sharek

Danika Sharek is a social researcher with a focus on gender and sexuality issues, mental health, and family education. Prior to her Ph.D. at the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Trinity College Dublin, she acquired an M.Sc. in Applied Social Research from Trinity College Dublin and a B.A. in in Sociology from Boston College. Danika moved to Dublin in 2008 from the United States and has since become an Irish citizen. Currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Genio (https://www.genio.ie/), Danika looks forward to her PhD Commencement in December 2018.

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Snapshot: International Multidisciplinary Research

Challenges facing girls with disabilities in West Africa

Reasons why girls with disabilities were not registered in schools in Togo West Africa in the same numbers as disabled boys and barriers to education faced by girls with disabilities in Guinea have been the focus of studies by a team of researchers from Trinity.

The research was commissioned by PLAN International and led by Professor Carol Newman (Economics), with Professor Robbie Gilligan and Professor Trevor Spratt (Social Work and Social Policy), Dr Rachel Hoare (French) and Dr Mairead Finn (Trinity International Development Initiative) comprising the research team.

We spent time in both countries, interviewing children and families, local community representatives, Government officials, leaders of NGOs and recruiting and training local researchers to undertake further fieldwork.

We found that girls in Africa face particular challenges emanating from an amalgam of gender discrimination, poverty and lack of specific services designed to meet the needs of girls with disabilities. While such challenges exist, there was also significant evidence of cultural adaptation in line with a growing concern for human rights and the maximisation of human potential irrespective of gender or ability.

The project demonstrates the need for research teams to represent a range of skills and disciplines in order to study and address complex research problems, wherein both casual factors and proposed solutions are multi factorial in nature.

Professor Carol Newman

Find out more about the project from research study leader, Professor Carol Newman

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