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Niamh McNamara

Niamh McNamara

Associate Professor

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Niamh is an Associate Professor in Social Psychology and leads the Groups, Identities, & Health Research Group. She is also the Early Career Researcher mentoring lead for the School of Social Sciences.

Her research interests lie at the boundary of social and health psychology and are concerned with the implications of group memberships (and the social identities derived from them) for health.

Niamh teaches across a range of modules and leads the final year module 'Community, Health, & Applied Social Psychology.' She also supervises students at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

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 held lectureships at the University of Limerick and the University of Bedfordshire and was a Visiting Academic at the University of Queensland. She joined the Department of Psychology at NTU in September 2015.

Research areas

The first strand of Niamh's research examines the intra-group processes that contribute to resilience, including in those belonging to socially marginalised groups. This work has spanned the investigation of the relationship between community identity and well-being in residential settings and virtual groups as well as exploring the implications of identity change for individuals undergoing life transitions such as eating disorder recovery and retirement.

A second strand examines the impact of identity processes on service engagement and help-seeking behaviours including the relationship between group identities and the consequences of participation in Social Prescribing initiatives and the impact of stigma on the experience of mental healthcare.

External activity

  • Graduate Member  of the British Psychological Society
  • Fellow HEA
  • Member of the Midlands Social Prescribing Steering Group

Niamh is a peer reviewer for  a number of journals in the fields of social psychology, political psychology, mental health, and psychiatry and acts as a reviewer for funding agencies including the NIHR.

Sponsors and collaborators


  • Fire Fighters Charity
  • National Office for Suicide Prevention (Ireland)
  • Australian Research Council
  • British Psychological Society
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Police Innovation Fund
  • St John of God Charitable Foundation (Ireland)


  • Prof Catherine Haslam, University of Queensland
  • Prof Alex Haslam, University of Queensland
  • Prof Jolanda Jetten, University of Queensland
  • Dr Genevieve Dingle, University of Queensland
  • Dr Nik Steffens, University of Queensland
  • Dr Sarah Bentley, University of Queensland
  • Dr Tegan Cruwys, Australian National University
  • Dr Sara McDevitt, University College Cork
  • Prof Fiona McNicholas, University College Dublin
  • Prof Daniel Frings, London South Bank University
  • Dr Eleni Vangeli, London South Bank University
  • Dr Debra Gray, University of Winchester
  • Dr Marc Scully, Mary Immaculate College
  • Bodywhys, The National Eating Disorders Association of Ireland
  • The National Centre for Cyberstalking Research, University of Bedfordshire

Recent Grants

  • A community-based social identity approach to loneliness (£150,180 / AUS$270,910, Australian Research Council). December 2019 – December 2022. PI: Dr Genevieve Dingle (University of Queensland); CIs: Prof Catherine Haslam, Prof Jolanda Jetten, Prof Alex Haslam (University of Queensland), Dr Tegan Cruwys (Australian National University), Dr Niamh McNamara (Nottingham Trent University).
  • Understanding the Transition to Retirement for Emergency Service Officers: A Social Identity Approach (£39,983, Fire Fighters Charity). July 2019 – December 2020. PI: Dr Niamh McNamara; CIs: Dr Clifford Stevenson, Dr Rowena Hill (Nottingham Trent University), Prof Catherine Haslam, Dr Niklas Steffens, Dr Sarah Bentley (University of Queensland).
  • Experience of Eating Disorder Recovery in Ireland (£10,000, Bodywhys The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland). October 2017 – October 2018. PI: Dr Niamh McNamara; CIs: Dr Juliet Wakefield, Dr Mike Rennoldson, Dr Sarah McDonald, Dr Mike Marriott.
  • Researching the Impact of Rushcliffe Selfcare Pathway (£29,969 + £15,000 extension) ImROC / Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group). Oct 2017 – March 2019. PI: Dr Clifford Stevenson; CIs: Dr Mhairi Bowe, Dr Blerina Kellezi, Dr Niamh McNamara, Dr Juliet Wakefield, Dr Iain Wilson.
  • The Social Psychology of Social Prescribing (£3000, British Psychological Society Research Seminars Competition). September 2017 – September 2019. PI: Dr Niamh McNamara, CIs: Dr Eleni Vangeli (London South Bank University), Dr Debra Gray (University of Winchester)
  • Researching the Impact of Age-Friendly Nottinghamshire (£29,991, Nottinghamshire County Council). Oct 2017 – Sept 2018. PI: Dr Clifford Stevenson; CIs: Dr Mhairi Bowe, Dr Blerina Kellezi, Dr Niamh McNamara, Dr Juliet Wakefield, Dr Iain Wilson.
  • Cyberharassment: Platform for evidence gathering, assessing risk and managing policing. (£793,111 Police Innovation Fund). June 2016 – March 2018. Lead Applicants: Bedfordshire Police, the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research (University of Bedfordshire), Co-Applicants: Dr Niamh McNamara (Nottingham Trent University), Dr Jacqueline Wheatcroft (University of Liverpool), Greater Manchester Police, Dyfed-Powys PCC, MIND BLMK, Victim Support, Hampshire Stalking Consultancy Clinic, Paladin.
  • The Impact of Stigma on the Detection, Treatment and Management of Eating Disorders in Ireland (STEDI). (€62,414 (£45,000), St John of God Charitable Foundation). May 2013 – February 2015.  PI: Prof Fiona McNicholas; CI: Dr Niamh McNamara.


Selected Recent Publications

McNamara, N., Wakefield, J., Cruwys, T., Potter, A., Jones, B., & McDevitt, S. (in press). The link between family identification, loneliness, and symptom severity in people with eating disorders. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology.

McNamara, N., Stevenson, C., Costa, S., Bowe, M., Wakefield, J., Kellezi, B., Wilson, I., Halder, M., & Mair, E. (2021). Community identification, social support, and loneliness: The benefits of social identification for personal well-being. British Journal of Social Psychology, 60, 1379-1402.

McDonald, S., Williams, A.J., Barr, P., McNamara, N., & Marriott, M. (2021). Service user and eating disorder therapist views on anorexia nervosa recovery criteria. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 94, 721-736.

Wakefield, J., Kellezi, B., Stevenson, C., McNamara, N., Bowe, M., Wilson, I., Halder, M., & Mair, E. (2021). Social prescribing as ‘social cure’: A longitudinal study of the health benefits of social connectedness within a social prescribing pathway. Journal of Health Psychology, 27, 386-396.

O’Connor, C., McNamara, N., O’Hara, L., McNicholas, M., & McNicholas, F. (2021). How do people with eating disorders experience the stigma associated with their condition? A mixed-methods systematic review. Journal of Mental Health, 30, 454-469.

Taylor, I., McNamara, N., & Frings, D. (2020). The ’doing’ or the ‘being’? Understanding the roles of involvement and social identity in peer-led addiction support groups. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 50, 3-9.

Kellezi, B., Wakefield, J., McNamara, N., Stevenson, C., Mair, E., Bowe, M., Wilson, I., & Halder, M.M. (2019). The social cure of social prescribing: A mixed methods study on the benefits of social connectedness on quality and effectiveness of care provision. BMJ Open, 9, e033137.

Wakefield, J., Bowe, M., Kellezi, B., McNamara, N., & Stevenson, C. (2019). When groups help and when groups harm: Origins, developments, and future directions of the ‘Social Cure’ perspective of group dynamics. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 13, e12440.

Stevenson, C., Costa, S., Easterbrook, M., McNamara, N., & Kellezi, B. (2020). Social cure processes help lower intergroup anxiety among neighbourhood residents. Political Psychology, 41, 1093-1111.

Stevenson, C., McNamara, N., Kellezi, B., Easterbrook, M.J., Shuttleworth, I., & Hyden, D. (2019). Re-identifying residential mixing: Emergent identity dynamics between incomers and existing residents in a mixed neighbourhood in Northern Ireland. European Journal of Social Psychology, 49, 413-428.

Stevenson, C., Easterbrook, M., Harkin, L., McNamara, N., Kellezi, B., Shuttleworth, I., & Hyden, D. (2019). Neighbourhood identity helps residents cope with residential diversification: Contact in increasingly mixed neighbourhoods of Northern Ireland. Political Psychology, 40, 277-295. doi:10.1111/pops.12510

McNicholas, F., O’Connor, C., McNamara, N., & O’Hara, L. (2018). Eating disorder services for young people in Ireland: Perspectives of service providers, service users, and the general adolescent population. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 35, 301-309

McNamara, N., Coyne, I., Ford, T., Paul, M., Singh, S., & McNicholas, F. (2017). Exploring social identity change during mental healthcare transition. European Journal of Social Psychology, Special Issue on Social Identities and Social Cures: Advancing the social identity approach to health and well-being, 47, 889-903.

McNamara, N., & Parsons, H. (2016). “Everyone here wants everyone else to get better”: The role of social identity in eating disorder recovery. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55, 662-680.

Hastings, A., McNamara, N, Allan, J., & Marriott, M. (2016). The importance of social identities in the management of and recovery from 'Diabulimia': A qualitative exploration. Addictive Behaviours Reports, Special Issue on Social Identity and Addictive Behaviours, 4, 78-86.

O’Connor, C., McNamara, N., McNicholas, F., & O’Hara, L. (2016). Eating disorder literacy and stigmatising attitudes towards anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder among adolescents. Advances in Eating Disorders, 4, 125-140.

McNicholas, F., O’Connor, C., O’Hara, L., & McNamara, N. (2016). Stigma and treatment of eating disorders in Ireland: Health professionals’ knowledge and attitudes. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33(1), 21-31.

Stevenson, C., McNamara, N. & Muldoon, O. (2014). Stigmatised identity and public service usage in disadvantaged communities: Residents’, community workers’ and service providers’ perspectives. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 24(6), 453-466.

McNamara, N., Stevenson, C., & Muldoon, O. (2013). Community identity as resource and context: A mixed method investigation of the role of social identity in coping and collective action in a disadvantaged community. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43(5), 393-403.

See all of Niamh McNamara's publications...