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Dr. Margaret Lawler
Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy

Biography

Dr Margaret Lawler is an Assistant Professor in Psychology in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, TCD, and a Charted Psychologist of the Psychological Society of Ireland. Her research focuses on understanding the role of psychosocial factors in adolescents' body image and physical activity participation. She is particularly interested in the application of novel interventions (e.g. mindfulness, motivational interviewing, social prescribing) to promote health behaviour change and psychological well-being among children and adolescents.

Margaret received a BSc. (Hons) in Sport Science and Health from Dublin City University and holds a Higher Diploma in Psychology, Post-graduate Diploma in Statistics, and a PhD (Psychology) from Trinity College Dublin. Her doctoral research, funded by a competitive Irish Research Council Scholarship, explored adolescents' physical activity patterns and psychosocial predictors of physical activity maintenance and behaviour change over twelve months. Prior to taking up her academic post, Margaret completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the School of Psychology, TCD, where she managed a trial jointly funded by Health Research Charities Ireland and the Health Research Board, which examined the feasibility of a novel peer-led motivational interviewing intervention for health behaviour change (smoking, alcohol, physical activity) among at-risk adolescents from low socioeconomic status communities.

Margaret is currently collaborating with the Gaelic Athletic Association, Camogie Association, Ladies Gaelic Football Association and several academic institutions across Ireland and Northern Ireland on the first all-island study to explore adolescents' participation rates in Gaelic games. Funded by Sport Ireland, this large-scale study seeks to explore the psychosocial factors underpinning male and female adolescents' involvement in Gaelic games, and the impact of COVID-19 on sport participation.

Dr Lawler has published qualitative and quantitative research papers in Q1 journals within her field (e.g. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health; Journal of Youth and Adolescence) and has presented her research nationally and internationally.

Margaret is an editorial board member for the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. In addition, she peer reviews papers for several international journals within the area of Psychology and Health including Psychology of Sport and Exercise, International Journal of Sport and Exercise, Health Education and Behavior, European Physical Education Review and Public Health Nutrition.

Margaret coordinates and teaches four undergraduate psychology modules in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine and contributes to teaching on the MSc in Cancer Survivorship.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Lawler, M., Heary, C. & Nixon, E., Irish adolescents' perspectives on the factors influencing motivation in team sport, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 13, (6), 2021, p1503 - 1516 Journal Article, 2021 DOI URL

Lawler, M., Heary, C., Shorter, G., .& Nixon, E., Peer and parental processes predict distinct patterns of physical activity participation among adolescent girls and boys, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20, (2), 2021, p497 - 514 Journal Article, 2021 DOI URL

Walsh, B., Dempsey, R., & Lawler, M., Family perspectives on educational experiences, post-school needs, and quality of life of young autistic adults, Irish Educational Studies , 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI URL

Rhona Dempsey, Olive Healy, Emma Lundy, Joanne Banks, Margaret Lawler, Air travel experiences of autistic children/young people, Annals of Tourism Research Empirical Insights, 2, (2), 2021 Journal Article, 2021 URL

Lawler, M., Heary,C. & Nixon, E, Peer Support and Role Modelling Predict Physical Activity Change among Adolescents over Twelve Months, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, (7), 2020, p1503 - 1516 Journal Article, 2020 DOI URL

Hickey, A., Lawler, M., Doyle, F., Nixon, E., Darker, C., Barry, M., Field, C., & Hevey, D. , The effects of training low-SES adolescents in Motivational Interviewing for health behaviour change among peers., 33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychological Society, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 3 - 7 September 2019, 2019 Published Abstract, 2019

Lawler, M., Hickey, A., Hevey, D., Doyle, F., Nixon, E., Darker, C., Barry, M., & Field, C. , Effects of a peer-led motivational interviewing intervention on physical activity levels of adolescents in low SES communities, Psychology Health and Medicine Conference 2019, Maynooth University , 22nd March, 2019 Published Abstract, 2019

O'Byrne, C., Jagoe, C., & Lawler, M. , Experiences of dyslexia and the transition to university: A case study of five students at different stages of study, Higher Education Research and Development, 38, (5), 2019, p1031 - 1045 Journal Article, 2019 URL DOI

Lawler, M., Hickey, A., Doyle, F., Nixon, E., Darker, C., Barry, M., Field, C., & Hevey, D. , Effectiveness of a peer-led motivational interviewing intervention for increasing physical activity among at-risk adolescents, 33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychological Society, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 3 - 7 September 2019, 2019 Published Abstract, 2019 URL

Hickey, A., Lawler, M., Nixon, E., Heary, C., Darker, C., Barry, M., Filed, C., Doyle, F., & Hevey, D. , The effects of training adolescents in a proven method for behaviour change - A pilot Study, 10th IUHPE European Conference and International Forum for Health Promotion Research, Trondheim, Norway, 24th -26th September, 2018 Poster, 2018

Lawler, M., Heary, C. & Nixon, E., Variations in adolescents' motivational characteristics across gender and physical activity patterns: A latent class analysis approach. , BMC Public Health, 17, 2017, p661 - 674 Journal Article, 2017 DOI TARA - Full Text

Battel I, Calvo I, Harpur I, Lawler M, Walshe M, 'Biofeedback to improve the safety and efficiency of the swallow function in people with Parkinson's disease and dysphagia', PROSPERO International Register of Systematic Reviews, NHS National Institute for Health Research , 2017, - 1-5 Protocol or guideline, 2017 TARA - Full Text URL

O'Byrne, C., Jagoe, C., & Lawler, M. , "I May Have Dyslexia but Dyslexia Does Not Have Me" - Students experience of Dyslexia and their transition into third level education., European Federation of Psychology Students' Associations, Junior Researcher Programme Conference, Dublin, Ireland , 1st - 4th August , 2017 Oral Presentation, 2017

McNamara, J., & Lawler, M., Teachers' Perspectives and Practices Regarding the Irish Language Learning and Home Language Maintenance of Children for whom English is an Additional Language, 1st - 4th August, European Federation of Psychology Students' Associations, Junior Researcher Programme Conference, Dublin, Ireland , 2017 Meeting Abstract, 2017

Lawler, M., Nixon, E., & Heary, C. , The relationship between physical activity behavioural patterns, BMI and body image among adolescents in Ireland. , Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Philadelphia, USA, 2015 Poster, 2015

Costello, E. & Lawler, M, An exploratory study of the effects of Mindfulness on perceived levels of stress among school-children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. , International Journal of Emotional Education, 6, 2014, p21 - 39 Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text URL

Lawler, M. , Review of the book Starving the stress gremlin. A cognitive behavioural therapy workbook on stress management for young people, by K. Collins-Donnelly]. , International Journal of Emotional Education, 5, 2013, p86-87 Review, 2013

Lawler, M., Nixon, E., & Heary, C. , Patterns of physical activity among Irish adolescents: A latent class analysis approach. , - Annual Meeting of the International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, Ghent, Belgium , 2013 Poster, 2013

Lawler, M., Nixon, E., & Heary, C. , Examining social and psychological predictors of continued participation in team sport during adolescence. , 22nd Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, Edmonton, Canada, 2012 Poster, 2012

Lawler, M., Nixon, E., & Heary, C. , Exploring psychological influences on adolescents' participation in organised sport: A self-determination theory perspective., 9th Annual Psychology, Health and Medicine Conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland Division of Health Psychology & British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology, , Northern Ireland. , Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2012 Oral Presentation, 2012

Lawler, M. & Nixon, E., Body Dissatisfaction Among Adolescent Boys and Girls: The Effects of Body Mass, Peer Appearance Culture and Internalization of Appearance Ideals, Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 40, (1), 2011, p59 - 71 Journal Article, 2011 DOI

Lawler, M., Nixon, E., & Heary, C. , Psychological and Social Factors Associated with Continued Participation in GAA Sport during Adolescence. , 41st Psychology Society of Ireland Annual Conference, Galway, Ireland , 2011 Oral Presentation, 2011

Theoretical & Methodological Considerations in Assessing Body Image among Children & Adolescents. in, editor(s)S.B. Greene , Body Image: Perceptions, Interpretations and Attitudes. , Nova Publishers, 2011, pp227 - 244, [Lawler, M. & Nixon, E.] Book Chapter, 2011

Nixon, E., Greene, S., Coyne, I., Lawler, M., Doyle, E., & Nugent, K. , Mother infant co-sleeping practices as a window into parental ethnotheories among Irish, Polish and Nigerian mothers in Ireland. , Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial meeting., Montreal, Canada , 2011 Meeting Abstract, 2011

Research Expertise

Projects

  • Title
    • Social Prescribing for at-risk Adolescents
  • Summary
    • This project explores the suitability and acceptability of social prescribing for adolescents
  • Funding Agency
    • TCD MED Seed Awards 2022
  • Date From
    • 03/03/2022
  • Date To
    • 31/-3/2023
  • Title
    • Examining Gaelic Games experiences and participation rates among adolescents
  • Summary
    • This is the first all-Ireland large-scale study to explore participation rates in Gaelic Games and the psychosocial factors underpinning sport drop out and maintenance among adolescents in Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • Funding Agency
    • Sport Ireland
  • Date From
    • 13/12/2021
  • Date To
    • 31/01/2023
  • Title
    • Exploring the suitability and acceptability of social prescribing for men with prostate cancer
  • Funding Agency
    • Trinity St. James's Cancer Institute (TSJCI)
  • Date From
    • 31 July 2022
  • Date To
    • 1 August 2023
  • Title
    • Peer-to-peer motivational interview intervention for smoking, alcohol and physical activity among at-risk adolescents in low SES communities: A feasibility trial.
  • Summary
    • Postdoctoral Researcher.(PI: Prof. David Hevey). https://www.hrb.ie/funding/funding-awarded/awards-made/award/peer-to-peer-motivational-interview-intervention-for-smoking-alcohol-and-physical-activity-among-at-3/
  • Funding Agency
    • Medical Research Charities Group and Health Research Board
  • Date From
    • 01/03/2017
  • Date To
    • 28/02/2020
  • Title
    • Transitions in Physical Activity among Irish youth
  • Summary
    • Principal Investigator
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council (formerly IRCHSS)
  • Date From
    • 2010
  • Date To
    • 2013
  • Title
    • An analysis of social and psychological predictors of transitions in physical activity patterns during adolescence.
  • Summary
    • Co-investigator. Principal Investigator: Dr Elizabeth Nixon. Co-investigator: Dr Caroline Heary(NUIG).
  • Funding Agency
    • Noel Hickey Research Bursary (supported by the Irish Heart Foundation)

Keywords

Applied Psychology; Behaviour Change; BODY IMAGE; CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE; Developmental Psychology; Health Psychology; Latent Class Analysis; Mindfulness ; MOTIVATION; motivational interview; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; SELF-DETERMINATION THEORY; SPORT

Recognition

Representations

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Editorial Board Member December 2021

Research and Postgraduate Committee - Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, TCD November 2021

Committee Member - Women in Research Ireland (WIRI) January 2020

Please see https://publons.com/researcher/4433907/margaret-lawler/. I have been a reviewer for the following journals: Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Health Education and Behavior, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Public Health Nutrition, Appetite, Children and Youth Services Review, European Physical Education Review

All Ireland Social Prescribing Research and Evaluation Committee Member

Awards and Honours

TCD MED Research Seed Award 2022

Conference Bursary from the Children's Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin 2013

Travel Bursary from the Trinity Trust, Trinity College Dublin 2012

Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship from the Irish Research Council (IRC) 2010

George White Memorial Prize from School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin - I received this annual award for a research paper accepted for publication in Journal of Youth and Adolescence during my postgraduate studies (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-009-9500-2) 2010

Postgraduate Research Studentship from Trinity College Dublin 2009

Memberships

Chartered Psychologist of the Psychological Society of Ireland 2022 – Present

Division of Health Psychology (Psychological Society of Ireland)

European Health Psychology Society 2021 – Present