Reducing Maternal Stress in Ireland

Health Research Board Applying Research into Policy & Practice (ARPP)

Stress experienced by men and women during pregnancy and up to two years’ post-partum (‘maternal stress’) is an important public health concern with significant health consequences for parental and child health.  

This research aims to reduce parental stress in Ireland through development of a stress-reduction intervention that can be implemented in national parent and child health programmes, and delivered in healthcare practice. The project will also examine the role of parental stress on child health outcomes, particularly childhood obesity, and autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It will do so using national and international datasets including Growing Up in Ireland, SCOPE and BASELINE, and the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. 

The project is led by Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar, and is funded by a Health Research Board Applying Research into Policy and Practice (ARPP) Award 

Project Collaborators 

  • Prof Patricia Kearney, School of Public Health, University College Cork 
  • Prof Catherine Hayes, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin 
  • Dr Phil Jennings, National Lead, HSE National Healthy Childhood Programme 
  • Prof Anja Huizink, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Vrije University Amsterdam 
  • Prof Sarah Redsell, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Anglia Ruskin University 
  • Prof Molly Byrne, School of Psychology and Health Behaviour Change Research Group, National University of Ireland Galway 
  • Dr Ali Khashan, School of Public Health, University College Cork 
  • Dr Catherine Houghton, School of Midwifery and QUESTS, National University of Ireland Galway 
  • Dr Deirdre Murray, Paediatrics & Child Health and INFANT, University College Cork 
  • Dr Darren Dahly, CRF-C and School of Public Health, University College Cork 


For further information on this project please contact Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar, School of Public Health, University College Cork at or on 021-4205530.  

ESPRIT Research Group

UCC School of Public Health, Western Gateway Building, Western Road, Cork,