Karen O Leary completed her PhD with the assistance of the O’Connor Scholarship. Her research interests lie in the areas of pregnancy, health psychology and positive psychology. Karen previously completed her BA and MA in Applied Psychology at University College Cork. She has also completed a Higher Diploma in Arts (English) in UCC.
Karen’s doctoral research examined how positive psychological interventions can improve well-being during pregnancy. Pregnant women completed a 3-week online well-being exercise and also completed questionnaires measuring their emotions, including happiness and stress. Hormonal stress measures (cortisol) were also collected and these were related to intervention use, well-being and birth outcomes. The findings will be used to inform quick, easy and cost-effective methods to maintain and enhance prenatal well-being.
Karen is a HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at University College Cork. Karen is also currently involved in research projects examining parenting stress, attitudes towards members of the LGBT community, biomarkers of stress and the influence of positive well-being factors while driving, and the effects of time perception and appearance concerns on smoking.