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Dr. Lorraine Swords
Assistant Professor, Psychology


Lorraine Swords is an Assistant Professor with the School of Psychology and board member of the Trinity Research in Childhood Centre. Lorraine graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) in Psychology from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2000 before completing a Master of Psychological Science in Health Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2002. She returned to UCD in 2003 to study for her PhD in Psychology on the topic of children's perceptions of psychological disorders in their peers. Prior to taking up her lectureship at Trinity in 2009, Lorraine worked as a researcher on the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland, Growing Up in Ireland.

Lorraine's primary teaching responsibilities are in the area of developmental psychology and, along with her collaborators and postgraduate students, she researches, presents and publishes on topics relating to children's health and wellbeing. She has particular research interest in peer interactions in the context of physical or mental health conditions in childhood and adolescence, focusing on help-seeking, help-giving and stigmatizing responses.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Stigma in, editor(s)Eilis Hennessy, Caroline Heary & Maria Michail , Youth Mental Health: A New Approach, Open University Press, 2022, [Lorraine Swords, Eilis Hennessy & Caroline Heary] Book Chapter, 2022

Bhargav, M. & Swords, L., The Role of Thwarted Belongingness, Perceived Burdensomeness, and Psychological Distress in the Association between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Suicidal Ideation in College Students., British Journal of Psychology (Open), 2022 Journal Article, 2022

Bhargav, Madhav & Swords, Lorraine, Adverse Childhood Experiences Predict Mental Health Functioning in College Students: A Test of Interpersonal Theory , Children & Young People's Mental Health Early Career Researchers' Forum, Online, 23 & 24 September , 2021 Oral Presentation, 2021

Brennan Emma, Swords Lorraine, Parenting with a spinal cord injury: A systematic review of mothers†and fathers†experiences. , Rehabilitation psychology , 2021 Journal Article, 2021

Swords Lorraine, Hennessy Eilis, Heary Caroline, Qualitative methods advancing research into the expression and experience of stigma in childhood and adolescence. , Stigma and Health , 2021 Journal Article, 2021

Monson Tracey, Swords Lorraine, Spratt Trevor, Establishing outcome measures in practice: Developing a model for services working therapeutically with children and families , The British Journal of Social Work , 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Spratt, T., Swords, L. and Hanlon, H., Domestic Violence and Whole Family Interventions: Charting Change in the Lives of Service Users, British Journal of Social Work, 2021, p1-23 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Bhargav, M; Swords, L. , Thwarted Belongingness, Perceived burdensomeness and Psychological Distress explains the Association between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Suicide Ideation in College Stude, UCD Child and Youth Research Seminar Series, Dublin, 2021 Oral Presentation, 2021

McLoughlin Affraic, Wilson Charlotte, Swords Lorraine, Parents' Experiences of Their Children's Solid-Organ Transplant: A Meta-Ethnography of Qualitative Studies , Journal of Pediatric Psychology , 2021 Journal Article, 2021

Bhargav, M; Swords, L. , (2021). Childhood Adversities and Suicide Ideation (SI) in College Students: Implications and Future Directions. , netECR e-conference , Glasgow, 2021 Oral Presentation, 2021

Monaghan Conall, Swords Lorraine, I'm still learning: perspectives on returning to education among early school leavers , International Journal of Inclusive Education , 2021, p1 - 14 Journal Article, 2021

Boonyananth, N. & Swords, L. , A Systematic Review of Adverse Childhood Experiences & the Cycle of Violence: Positive Identity Development as a Protective Factor. , UCD Child and Youth Research Seminar Series, Dublin, 2021 Oral Presentation, 2021

Eilís Ní Chorcora, Lorraine Swords, Mental Health Literacy and Help Giving Responses of Irish Primary School Teachers, Irish Educational Studies, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 URL

Sarah Hughes, Lorraine Swords & Charlotte Wilson , Adolescent Stress and Coping: A theoretical consideration, Irish Psychologist, Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference , (46), 5, 2020 Conference Paper, 2020

Spratt, T., Swords, L. and Vilda, D., Outcomes for Families Referred to Family Centres: Using Validated Instruments to Chart Changes in Psychological Functioning, Relationships and Children's Coping Strategies over Time, British Journal of Social Work, 2020, p1-22 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Amanda Dunne, Rory Carolan, John McHugh, Lorraine Swords , Parental Perspectives of Paediatric Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures, Irish Psychologist, Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference , 46, (5), 2020 Conference Paper, 2020

Amanda Dunne, Rory Carolan, Lorraine Swords, & Gillian Fortune, Patient and Family Perspectives of Paediatric Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures: A Systematic Review , Irish Psychologist, Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference , Online, 46, (5), 2020 Conference Paper, 2020

Sarah Hughes, Lorraine Swords & Charlotte Wilson , Adolescent Stress and Coping: A theoretical consideration , Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference , Online, 2020, 2020 Oral Presentation, 2020

Hanlon Holly R, Swords Lorraine, Adolescent Endorsement of the †Weak-Not-Sick†Stereotype for Generalised Anxiety Disorder: Associations with Prejudice, Discrimination, and Help-Giving Intentions toward Peers , International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 17 , (15 ), 2020, p5415 - Journal Article, 2020

Dunne Amanda, Carolan Rory, Swords Lorraine, Fortune Gillian, Patient and family perspectives of paediatric psychogenic non-epileptic seizures: A systematic review , Seizure , 71 , 2019, p279 - 285 Journal Article, 2019

Swords, L. & Spratt, T., THE MEDIATING ROLE OF PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS IN THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN EARLY LIFE STRESS AND EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL OUTCOMES, 7th ENSEC Conference -Well-being and Social, Emotional Development, Budapest, August 29th - 31st , edited by Zsolnai, A. & Rausch, A. , ELTE, 2019, pp1 - 157 Conference Paper, 2019

Hanlon, H. R. & Swords, L., Overthinkers, attention-seekers and wallflowers: peer perceptions of clinical anxiety disorders in adolescence, Journal of Public Mental Health, 2019 Journal Article, 2019 URL

Swords, L. and Hanlon, H., Weirdos, wallflowers and attention- seekers: An exploratory study of adolescents' perceptions of peers with social anxiety disorder , ECMH - 7th European Conference on Mental Health, Split, September 19th-21st, 2018, pp1 - 115 Conference Paper, 2018

Heary, C., Hennessy, E., Swords, L., & Corrigan, P., Stigma towards Mental Health Problems during Childhood and Adolescence: Theory, Research and Intervention Approaches, Journal of Child & Family Studies, 2017, pDOI 10.1007/s10826-017-0829-y Journal Article, 2017

Silke, C., Swords, L. & Heary, C. , The predictive effect of empathy and social norms on adolescents' implicit and explicit stigma responses, Psychiatry Research, 257, 2017, p18-125 Journal Article, 2017

Crowe, M., O'Sullivan, A., McGrath, C., Cassetti, O., Swords, L., & O'Sullivan, M. , Early Childhood Dental Problems: Classification Tree Analyses of 2 Waves of an Infant Cohort Study. , JDR Clinical & Translational Research, 1, (3), 2016, p275 - 284 Journal Article, 2016

International Student Exchange in, editor(s)J. Mirsky & L. Rubinstein , Transnational Teaching and Learning in Child & Youth Welfare, Padova, Italy, Centro Studi e Ricerca Sociale, 2016, pp7 - 184, [Zinn, D., Fargion, S., Share, M., Swords, L. & Nuttman-Shwartz, O] Book Chapter, 2016

Is Family Structure a Source of Inequality in Children 's Lives? in, editor(s)Williams, J., Nixon, E., Smyth, E. & Watson, D. , Cherishing all the Children Equally?, Dublin, Oak Tree Press, 2016, pp58 - 79, [Nixon, E. & Swords, L. ] Book Chapter, 2016

Silke, C., Swords, L. & Heary, C. , The Development of an Empirical Model of Mental Health Stigma in Adolescents, Psychiatry Research, 242, 2016, p262 - 270 Journal Article, 2016

Kierans, J. & Swords, L., Exploring the Appearance Culture in Early Adolescence: A Qualitative Focus Group Approach in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), Journal of Adolescent Research, In Press, 2015 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Byrne, S., Swords, L. & Nixon, E., Mental Health Literacy and Help-Giving Responses in Irish Adolescents, Journal of Adolescent Research, 30, (4), 2015, p477 - 500 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Byrne, A., & Swords, L., "Attention seeker", "drama queen": the power of talk in constructing identities for young people with mental health difficulties, Mental Health Review Journal, 20, (2), 2015, p65 - 78 Journal Article, 2015

Stigma associated with disease and disability during childhood and adolescence: A developmental approach in, editor(s)Corrigan, P. , The stigma of disease and disability: Understanding causes and overcoming injustices, Washington DC, American Psychological Association, 2014, pp205 - 222, [Heary, C., Hennessy, E. & Swords, L. ] Book Chapter, 2014 URL

Nixon, E., Swords, L., & Murray, A., Growing up in Ireland, National Longitudinal Study of Children: Parenting and Infant Development., Dublin, Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, 2013, p6 - 64 Report, 2013 URL

Swords, L., Merriman, B., & O'Donnell, M., Family Wellbeing on a limited income: A study of families living at risk of poverty in Ireland, Dublin, Family Support Agency, 2013, p1 - 83 Report, 2013 URL

Yorke, L., & Swords, L., Advances and challenges in participatory research with vulnerable children in Ireland, Celebrating Fifty Years of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin: A Special Issue of The Irish Journal of Psychology, 33, (2-3), 2012 Journal Article, 2012

Swords, L, Heary, C, Hennessy, E, Factors associated with acceptance of peers with mental health problems in childhood and adolescence, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, (9), 2011, p933-941 Journal Article, 2011 TARA - Full Text

Greene, S., Williams, J., Layte, R., Doyle, E., Harris, E., McCrory, C., Murray, A., O'Dowd, T., Quail, A., Swords, L., Thornton, M., & Whelan, C., Growing up in Ireland, National Longitudinal Study of Children: Background and Conceptual Framework, Dublin, Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, 2010 Report, 2010 URL TARA - Full Text

Swords, L., Hennessy, E., & Heary, C., Development of the Children's Attributions about Psychological Problems in their Peers (CAPPP) Scale, Child: Care, Health & Development, 37, (3), 2010, p446 - 455 Journal Article, 2010

Swords, L., Hennessy, E. & Heary, C., Adolescents' beliefs about sources of help for ADHD and depression, Journal of Adolescence, 35, 2010, p485 - 492 Journal Article, 2010

Greene, S., Williams, J., Doyle, E., Harris, E., McCrory, C., Murray, A., Swords, L., Thornton, M., Quail, A., Layte, R., O'Dowd, T., & & Whelan, C., Growing up in Ireland, National Longitudinal Study of Children: Review of the literature pertaining to the first wave of data collection with the infant cohort at nine months, Dublin, Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, 2010 Report, 2010

Williams, J., Greene, S., Doyle, E., Harris, E., Layte, R., McCoy, S., McCrory, C., Murray, A., Nixon, E., O'Dowd, T., O'Moore, M., Quail, A., Smyth, E., Swords, L., Thornton, M., Growing up in Ireland: The lives of 9 year olds, Dublin, The Stationery Office, 2009, 161 Report, 2009 URL TARA - Full Text

Hennessy, E., Swords, L., & Heary, C., Children's understanding of psychological problems displayed by their peers: A review of the literature, Child: Care, Health & Development, 34, (1), 2008, p4 - 9 Journal Article, 2008

Swords, L., & Groarke, A., Experience with breast cancer: Effects on comparative optimism, anxiety, attitudes and breast self-examination, Irish Journal of Psychology, 25, (1-4), 2004, p76 - 89 Journal Article, 2004

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Spratt, T., Swords, L. and Hanlon, H., A Therapeutic Response to Domestic Violence: Signs on the Road to Safety, Dublin, Daughters of Charity Child & Family Services, 2019, p1 - 57 Report, 2019

Spratt, T., Swords, L. and Vilda, D., Why Measures Matter: Charting Change in the Lives of Children and Families, Daughters of Charity, October, 2018, p1 - 135 Report, 2018

Swords, L., Greene, S., Boyd, E., & Kerrins, L., All You Need Is Children's Perceptions and Experiences of Deprivation in Ireland , Dublin, September, 2011 Report, 2011

Research Expertise


I lead a programme of research at Trinity that centres on children"s psychological health and wellbeing. Studies conducted as part of these research streams align with Trinity"s research theme of `Inclusive Society" and range from psychology-focused projects with my PhD students (e.g. the Provost Project Award-funded research on children"s experiences of domestic violence) to collaborations with partners and multidisciplinary consortiums within Ireland, Europe and the US (e.g. the Horizon 2020-funded research on the mental health and wellbeing of refugee children). I am best known for my work on mental health stigma in young people over the past twenty years and I have recently published a graduate-level text book chapter on this topic with McGraw-Hill (2022). I have an impressive track record of funding " as Principal or Co-Investigator I have secured over €700,000 in research grants from prestigious national and international funders such as the Irish Research Council and the European Commission. This money has facilitated multiple research studies and enabled me to support and mentor research assistants, PhD students and post-docs. It has also supported me in writing many impactful, practice and policy-relevant research reports and peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and conference papers. As an example of output, to date I have senior authored over 50 academic products and received almost 1000 citations. Regarding impact, as co-principal investigator on an Irish child and family NGO-funded project led to three high-quality peer-reviewed articles in 2021. These along with two related intervention evaluation reports were presented to a national statutory organisation to secure service funding and have also informed training programmes within the service. My future objectives are to (i) secure national and international research funding, and (ii) grow my network of collaborators and research outputs so as to broaden my own, and the College"s, local and global impact.


  • Title
    • Evaluating Early Childhood & Family Centre Services
  • Summary
    • Developing a suite of evaluation tools to implement across Early Childhood and Family Centre services. Providing training, monitoring implementation, data analysis and reporting.
  • Funding Agency
    • Daughters of Charity Child & Family Services
  • Date From
    • 2015
  • Date To
    • Ongoing
  • Title
    • Evaluating the Dublin Safer Families Service
  • Summary
    • Developing a suite of evaluation tools to implement across Dublin Safer Family services. Providing training, monitoring implementation, data analysis and reporting.
  • Funding Agency
    • Daughter of Charity Child & Family Service
  • Date From
    • 2016
  • Date To
    • Ongoing
  • Title
    • Transnational Academic Careers in Child and Youth Welfare (TACHYwe)
  • Summary
    • TACHYwe is a transnational collaborative learning and working environment that aims to develop and implement postgraduate courses on international child and youth welfare. The 10 participating universities and institutes are Trinity College Dublin, University of Hildesheim (Germany), Free University of Bozen (Italy), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel), Sapir College (Israel), Haruv Institute Jerusalem (Israel), Moscow State Regional University (Russia), Don State Technical University (Russia), and Fondazione Emanuela Zancan (Italy). The project is funded for three years by the EU-cooperation programme Tempus IV with a grant of €970,000.
  • Funding Agency
    • EU Tempus IV
  • Date From
    • 2011
  • Date To
    • 2014
  • Title
    • Family Well-being in Difficult Times: A Model of Factors Influencing the Well-being of Families on Limited Incomes in Ireland
  • Summary
    • In recent years Ireland has suffered its most serious economic contraction in generations, with one in five Irish households with children lives on incomes that are 60 per cent below the median national income (Central Statistics Office, 2008). Such economic pressures can result in long-term social and economic costs for children, families, and communities (e.g. Golonka & Hoffman, 2008; March et al., 2011; Ridge, 2002, 2007). Research in Ireland by McKeown, Pratschke and Haase (2003) has identified family circumstances such as employment or social class as one of four broad sets of influences on the well-being of family members. While it is clear that families under financial pressure experience the repercussions across many aspects of their members' lives, research suggests that families can be active agents in how they respond to, and manage, these situations (e.g. Gordon, 2000). Guided by family systems theory and ecological perspectives about families, the present study proposes to mine data collected as part of Growing Up in Ireland (GUI), the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland, to investigate how limited family income can influence key family well-being measures. Key Research Question o Among families living on limited incomes, what are the key factors that, directly or indirectly, influence their well-being? . What are the characteristics of families who 1. are doing well? 2. are experiencing difficulty? Understanding the relative roles of key factors in contributing to adaptive functioning among families on limited incomes is of critical importance to developing future policy to safeguard the wellbeing of the family and its members. Using data collected as part of GUI can give us a sense of how families with limited incomes are faring and how this is so on a truly national scale.
  • Funding Agency
    • Family Support Agency
  • Date From
    • July 2011
  • Date To
    • June 2012
  • Title
    • All You Need Is... Children's Perceptions and Experiences of Deprivation in Ireland
  • Summary
    • This paper reports the results of a study aiming to derive a child-generated set of indicators of child deprivation. To date child poverty and deprivation have been calculated on the basis of the child being reared in a household assessed as living in relative or consistent poverty. There is a convincing argument for including children in the development of child-specific indicators to capture the extent and experience of child deprivation. Using the socially perceived necessities method with children and their parents to identify child necessities and enforced lack of these necessities is innovative in the study of childhood deprivation in Ireland. Two hundred and sixty two children, aged from nine to eleven years from 28 urban and rural primary schools, and their parents, from across the social spectrum, participated in this study. The approach used was the socially perceived necessities method which has been widely applied with adults but not with children. In this study, a list of 49 material (things to have), activity (things to do) and service (thing that help) necessities was presented to the children and their parents and they were asked which items they believe are necessities that no child should have to do without due to low income. They then reported on their ownership and deprivation of these items. An index of 12 indicators of child deprivation was developed based solely on child responses. Although children acknowledge the importance of basic necessities such as adequate food and clothing, they also place an emphasis on being able to participate in typical family activities (e.g. holidays or going out for a meal) and to access services (e.g. library or shops). Evidence from this study suggests that while household deprivation is related to child-specific deprivation, household and child deprivation are not one and the same phenomenon. In some instances children experience more deprivation than their parents, while in others parents may be going without in order to ensure that their children's needs are met. It appears that some children are protected from experiencing the level of child-specific deprivation that might be expected considering their parents' reports of household deprivation, while other children in homes with little or no apparent household deprivation are experiencing a surprising lack of child essentials. Thus, the distribution of resources within the family is complex and there is a need to clearly identify the factors at play here. However, using household indicators of deprivation or parent reports of deprivation in data collection as a proxy for children's own experiences is inadequate as it does not help us to sufficiently identify or satisfactorily understand the actual experiences of deprived and non-deprived children living in deprived and non-deprived homes. Preliminary results arising from the development and early application of the 12-item child-generated deprivation measure suggest that it has potential for use with children in the changing Irish economic context and that it could serve as a useful child-centred adjunct to current means of calculating levels of child poverty.
  • Funding Agency
    • Barnardos & The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • Date From
    • July 2010
  • Date To
    • July 2011


Child and Adolescent Mental Health; Child Health Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Peer Relationships



Member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Growing Up in Ireland, the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland. 2010

Journal Reviewer for Child Development; Journal of Adolescence; Early Intervention in Psychiatry; Journal of Adolescent Research; BMC Public Health; BMC Psychiatry; Frontiers in Public Health; 2012

Awards and Honours

Provost Teaching Award Nominee 2017

Provost PhD Award Recipient 2019

Union of Students in Ireland 'Teaching Hero' Award Recipient 2021

Provost Award for Excellence in Research Student Supervision Nominee 2022


Psychological Society of Ireland 2003 – Present

International Association for Youth Mental Health 2013 – Present

European Network for Social & Emotional Competence 2015 – Present