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Niamh McNamara

Niamh McNamara

Associate Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Niamh McNamara is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. She contributes to teaching on general introductory psychology in Year One, critical thinking and qualitative research methods in Year Two, and the Professional Practice in Psychology module in Year Three.

She is Module Leader of the Year Three Community, Health and Applied Social Psychology module. In addition, she supervises both undergraduate and postgraduate research projects. Niamh is also Deputy Chair of the Division’s Learning and Teaching Committee.

Career overview

Dr McNamara was awarded her PhD in Applied Psychology from University College Cork and completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Limerick and University College Dublin. She became a lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire in 2013 and was co-lead of the Social and Occupational Psychology research group. She joined the Division of Psychology at NTU in September 2015.

Research areas

Dr McNamara's research interests are concerned with the implications of group memberships (and the social identities derived from them) for health. The first strand of her research examines the intra-group processes that contribute to resilience in socially marginalised groups. This work has spanned the investigation of the relationship between community identity and wellbeing in residential settings and in virtual groups, as well as exploring social identity changes during the transition from an illness to a recovery identity in individuals with eating disorders.

The second strand of her research examines the impact of identity dynamics on help-seeking behaviours, including service engagement in socially stigmatised groups. This area of research investigates how identity can act as a "social curse." Examples of current projects in this area include the impact of stigma on the experience of care in mental health services and the role of ethnic identity in structuring responses to mental illness.

Dr McNamara would be interested in supervising students in the following areas:

  • Stigmatisation and resilience
  • Group-based coping strategies in vulnerable populations
  • Online community identities, social support and wellbeing
  • Identity, social influence and health behaviours.

Selected research projects:

  • The Impact of Stigma on the Detection, Treatment and Management of Eating Disorders in Ireland (STEDI). St John of God Charitable Foundation. PI: Prof Fiona McNicholas; CI: Dr Niamh McNamara.
  • The role of ethnic identity in structuring responses to mental ill-health in British women of South Asian origin. Research Centre for Applied Psychology, University of Bedfordshire. PI: Dr Niamh McNamara.
  • The effectiveness of online support groups in promoting resilience in individuals with eating disorders. PI: Dr Niamh McNamara; CI: Ms Harriet Parsons, Bodywhys: The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland.
  • Irish university students' perceptions of individuals with eating disorders. Commissioning Organisation: Bodywhys; Consultant: Dr Niamh McNamara

External activity

  • Reviewer NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme
  • Peer-reviewer for: Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, European Journal of Social Psychology, British Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Health Promotion International, Interacting with Computers.

Sponsors and collaborators


  • St John of God Charitable Foundation (Ireland).


  • Bodywhys, The National Eating Disorders Association of Ireland
  • Diabetics with Eating Disorders
  • The National Centre for Cyberstalking Research, University of Bedfordshire
  • Ms Jaqueline Allan, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr Clifford Stevenson, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Professor Fiona McNicholas, University College Dublin
  • Professor Imelda Coyne, Trinity College Dublin
  • Professor Swaran Singh, University of Warwick
  • Dr Moli Paul, University of Warwick
  • Professor Tamsin Ford, University of Exeter
  • Dr Juliet Wakefield, Nottingham Trent University
  • Dr Mhairi Bowe, Nottingham Trent University
  • Dr Blerina Kellezi, Nottingham Trent University.