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Margaret Lawler
Research Fellow, Psychology


Dr Lawler is a Research Fellow in the School of Psychology. She received a BSc in Sport Science and Health from DCU and holds a Post-graduate Higher Diploma in Psychology, Post-graduate Diploma in Statistics, and PhD in Psychology from TCD. Margaret's research focuses on young people's health, wellbeing and behaviour change with a particular emphasis on physical activity.

Her doctoral research, which was funded by an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship, explored adolescents' physical activity patterns and psycho-social predictors of physical activity behaviour change over twelve months.

Margaret is currently managing a feasibility trial, jointly funded by the Medical Research Charities Group and Health Research Board (MRCG-HRB), examining the effects of a peer-led motivational interviewing intervention to increase physical activity and decrease smoking and alcohol consumption among at-risk adolescents from low socioeconomic status communities. She has also taught various modules on developmental psychology, cognition and neuropsychology, statistics and research methods in DCU and TCD.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

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

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 Oral Presentation, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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 URL

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. , 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. , 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

Coyne, I., Nixon, E., Greene, S., Doyle, E., Lawler, M., & Nugent, K. , Influence of parental ethnotheories on mother infant co-sleeping practices: Implications for health promotion. , 10th International Family Nursing Conference, Kyoto, Japan, 2011 Meeting Abstract, 2011

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

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

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

Research Expertise


  • 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. Principal Investigator: Prof. David Hevey. Co-investigators: Prof Elizabeth Nixon, Prof Catherine Darker, Dr Frank Doyle (RCSI),Prof Margaret Barry (NUIG), and Dr Catherine Anne Field (NUIG)
  • 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)


Awards and Honours

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 ( 2010

Postgraduate Research Studentship from Trinity College Dublin 2009