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Dr. Cathal McCrory

Cathal McCrory joined the TILDA team in May 2012 and is a Senior Research Fellow in Psychology. He leads the Behavioural and Social Sciences group within TILDA. His research explores the pathways, processes and mechanisms through which socially mediated risk factors come to influence health over the life-course, with a particular emphasis on stress. Psychosocial frameworks postulate that those growing in more disadvantaged environments are subjected to a greater number of stressors during development resulting in greater ‘wear and tear’ on physiological systems (i.e. allostatic load) which may precipitate earlier biological ageing. Understanding how differences in the social environment ‘get under the skin’ is a major focus of his work. Cathal’s research utilizes population-level data to explore the extent to which differences in exposure to stressors can account for disease and mortality differentials between different social groups, leading to the identification of modifiable risk and resilience factors.

Cathal received an Emerging Investigator Award from the Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland in December 2017 to explore social differentials in health and mortality using putative markers of accelerated ageing. The ALLOSTAT project will chart the social distribution of neuroendocrine, inflammatory, cardiovascular and metabolic markers in TILDA and other ageing datasets; and examine the predictive utility of a composite index derived from this battery of biomarkers for identifying emergent disease states, frailty and mortality. The project will also examine the magnitude and degree of association between Allostatic Load and other putative markers of age acceleration, including leukocyte telomere shortening and DNA methylation age.

Cathal is also a collaborator on the Horizon 2020 funded LIFEPATH project (http://www.lifepathproject.eu) which examines socio-economic variation in health and wellbeing in Ireland and other European countries at different stages of the life-course using data from a number of European cohort studies with intense phenotyping and repeat biological samples. You can learn more about the project here: http://www.lifepathproject.eu/media/video

Prior to joining the TILDA team, Cathal was employed by the Economic and Social Research Institute as a Research Analyst on the Growing Up in Ireland study (2006-2012), which is a large nationally representative cohort study following the development of two cohorts of Irish children (with a sample of 20,000+). His research with the Growing Up in Ireland cohort has been widely reported in national print (Irish Independent, Irish Times, The Examiner, Sunday Times) and broadcast media (RTE, TV3).

Prior to joining the TILDA team, Cathal was employed by the Economic and Social Research Institute as a Research Analyst (2006-2012) on the Growing Up in Ireland study: a large nationally representative cohort study following the development of two cohorts of Irish children (with a sample of 20,000+). His research with the Growing Up in Ireland cohort has been widely reported in national print (Irish Independent, Irish Times, The Examiner, Sunday Times) and broadcast media (RTE, TV3).

He also previously worked as a Research Analyst/Manager of the Surveys and Indicators Unit in Forfás, the national policy and advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation. He obtained his Primary Degree in Psychology (1999) and Doctorate in Psychology (2002) from Queens University, Belfast. He was awarded his PhD for his work examining the relationship between putative measures of neurological processing speed and psychometric intelligence.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Reinhard, E., Layte, R., McCrory, C., Panico, L., & Avendano, M. (in press). The Great Recession and the Health of Young Children: A Fixed Effects Analysis in Ireland. American Journal of Epidemiology.

  • Fiorito, G., Polidoro, S. Dugue, P.A., Kivimaki, M., Ponzi, E., Matullo, G., Guarrera, S., Assummaa, M.B. Georgiadis, P., Kyrtopoulos, S.O. Krogh, V. Palli, D., Panico, S., Sacerdote, C. Tumino, R., Chadeau-Hyam, M., Stringhini, S., Severi, G., Hodge, A.M., Giles, G.G., Marioni, R., Linnér, R.K. O’Halloran, A., Kenny, R.A., Layte, R., McCrory, C., Baglietto, L., Milne, R.L., Vineis, P. (2017). Social adversity and epigenetic aging: a multi-cohort study on socioeconomic differences in peripheral blood DNA methylation. Scientific Reports.

  • McCrory, C., O’Leary, N., Fraga, S., Ribeiro, A.I., Barros, H., Kartiosuo, N. Raitakari, O., Kivimaki, M., Vineis, & Layte, R. for the Lifepath Consortium (2017) Socio-Economic Differences in Children’s Growth Trajectories from Infancy into Early Adulthood: Evidence from four European countries. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 71(10), 981-989. PMID: 28798151.

  • Vineis, P., Avendano-Pabon, M., Barros, H., Chadeau-Hyam, M., Costa, G., Dijmarescu, M., Delpierre, C., D’Errico, A, Fraga, S., Giles, G., Goldberg, M., Zins, M., Kelly-Irving, M., Kivimaki, M., Lang, T., Layte, R., Mackenbach, J., Marmot, M., McCrory, C., Carmeli, C., Milne, R.L., Muennig, P., Nusselder, W., Polidoro, S., Ricceri, F., Robinson, O., Stringhini, S. & The LIFEPATH Consortium (2017). The biology of inequalities in health: the LIFEPATH project. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 8(4), 417-439.

  • d'Errico A. Ricceri, F. Stringhini, S., Carmeli, C., Kivimaki, M. Bartley M., McCrory, C. Bochud, M. Vollenweider, P. Tumino, R., Goldberg, M. Zins, M., Barros, H., Giles, G., Costa, G.,  Severi, G., &  Vineis, P. (in press) Socioeconomic indicators in epidemiologic research: a practical example from the LIFEPATH study. PLOS One

  • McCrory, C., Berkman, L., Moore, P.V., & Kenny, R.A. (in press). What explains socio-economic variation in the heart rate response to postural challenge? Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences.

  • O’Hare, C., McCrory, C., O’Leary, N., O’Brien, H., & Kenny, R.A. (in press). Childhood Trauma and Lifetime Syncope Burden Among Older Adults. Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

  • Stringhini, S., Carmelli, C., Jokela, M., Avendano, M, Muennig, P. et al. and the LIFEPATH consortium (2017). Socioeconomic status and the 25 × 25 risk factors as determinants of premature mortality: a multicohort study and meta-analysis of 1·7 million men and women. The Lancet, 25, 389(10075):1229-1237. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32380-7.

  • Humphreys, G.W., Duta, M.D., Montana, L., Demeyere, N., McCrory, C., Rohr, J., Kahn, K., Tollman, S. & Berkman, L. Cognitive Function in Low-Income and Low-Literacy Settings: Validation of the Tablet-Based Oxford Cognitive Screen in the Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI). Journals of Gerontology (Series B): Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. Epub ahead of print: October 2016.

  • O’Hare, C., McCrory, C., O’Connell, M.D.L., & Kenny, R.A. (2017). Sub-clinical Orthostatic Hypotension is Associated with Greater Subjective Memory Impairment in Older Adults. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 32(4):429-438. PMID: 27245850.

  • McCrory, C., Berkman, L., Nolan, H., O’Leary, N., Foley, M., & Kenny, R.A. (2016). Speed of Heart Rate Recovery in Response to Orthostatic Challenge: A Strong Risk Marker of Mortality. Circulation Research, 119(5), 666-675. PMID: 27330018.
    Editorial Feature: http://circres.ahajournals.org/content/119/5/582.short

  • McCrory, C, Henretta, J.C., & O’Connell, M, & Kenny, R.A. (in press). Intergenerational Occupational Mobility and Objective Physical Functioning in Mid-life and Older Ages. Journals of Gerontology (Series B): Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. Epub ahead of print: October 2015. PMID: 26450959.

  • Mosca, I., &McCrory, C. (2016). Personality and Wealth Accumulation Among Older Couples: Do Dispositional Characteristics Pay Dividends? Journal of Economic Psychology, 56, 1-19. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2016.04.006

  • McCrory, C., Finucane, C., O’Hare, C., Frewen, J., Nolan, H., Layte, R., Kearney, P., & Kenny, R.A. (2016). Social Disadvantage and Social Isolation are Associated with a Higher Resting Heart Rate: Evidence from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 71(3), 463-473. PMID: 25481923.

  • Henretta, J.C., & McCrory, C. (2016). Childhood Circumstances and Mid-life Functional Mobility. Journal of Ageing and Health, 28(3), 440-459. PMID: 26148942.

  • McCrory, C., Dooley, C. Layte, R. & Kenny, R.A. (2015). The Lasting Legacy of Childhood Adversity for Disease Risk in Later Life. Health Psychology. 34(7), 687-96. PMID: 25150540.

  • Layte, R. Bennett, A., McCrory, C., & Kearney, J. (2014). Social Class Variation in the Predictors of Rapid Growth in Infancy and Obesity at Age Three Years. International Journal of Obesity, 38(1):82-90. PMID 23979218.

  • McCrory, C. & Murray, A. (2013). The Effect of Breastfeeding on Neuro-Development in Infancy. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 17(9), 1680-1688. PMID: 23135624.

  • McCrory, C. & McNally, S. (2013). The Effect of Pregnancy Intention on Maternal Prenatal Behaviours and Parent and Child Health: Results of an Irish Cohort Study. Journal of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 27(2), 208-215. PMID: 23374066.

  • Layte, R. & McCrory, C. (2013). Pediatric Chronic illness and Educational Failure: The Role of Emotional and Behavioural Problems. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 48(8), 1307-1316. PMID: 23090283.

  • McCrory, C. & Layte, R. (2012). Prenatal Smoking During Pregnancy and Childhood Behavioural Problems: A Quasi-Experimental Approach. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(8), 1277-1288. PMID: 22552625

  • McCrory, C. & Layte, R. (2012). Breastfeeding and Risk of Overweight and Obesity at Nine Years of Age. Social Science and Medicine, 75(2), 323-330. PMID: 22560796.

  • McCrory, C. & Layte, R. (2012). Testing Competing Models of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire’s (SDQ’s) Factor Structure for the Parent-Informant Instrument. Personality and Individual Differences, 52, 882-887. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886912000803

In Submission/Preparation

  • McCrory, C., Leahy, S., Ribeiro, A., Fraga, S., Barros, H., Vineis, P. & Layte, R. for the LIFEPATH consortium (in preparation). Socio-economic inequalities in measured body mass index trajectories in 41,399 children in three European countries.

  • Stringhini, S., Carmeli, C., Jokela, M., Avendaño, M., McCrory, C. et al. (in submission). Socioeconomic status, 25 x 25 risk factors and decline in physical functioning at older ages: pooled analysis of individual-level data on 108,261 men and women from 23 countries.

  • Layte, R., Kelly-Irving, M., McCrory, C. & Delpierre, C. (in submission). Prenatal maternal stress and child atopy: analysis using a national child cohort between 9 months and 5 years of age.

  • Canney, M., Leahy, S., Scarlett, S., Kenny, RA., Little, M.A, O’Seaghdha, C.A., & McCrory, C. (in submission) Childhood represents a critical period for the embedding of chronic kidney disease risk in women exposed to a disadvantaged socioeconomic environment.

  • Leahy, S., Canney, C., Scarlett, S., Kenny, R.A. & McCrory, C. (in submission). Life course socioeconomic position is associated with later life diabetes prevalence in women. Evidence from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

  • Nolan, A., McCrory, C., & Moore, P. (in submission). Personality and Preventive Healthcare Utilisation: Evidence from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

  • Layte, R. & McCrory, C. (in submission). Fiscal Crises and Personal Troubles: The Great Recession in Ireland and Family Processes

  • Ni Cheallaigh, C., Bourke, N., Cox, D., McCrory, C. & Kenny, R.A. (in submission). Inflammageing: Clinical Perspectives.

  • McNally, S., McCrory, C., Murray, A. & Quigley, J. (in preparation). Why do children of highly educated mothers have better vocabularies at 36 months?

Book Chapters

  • Layte, R. & McCrory, C. (2016). Social Variation in Child Health and Development: A Life Course Approach. Cherishing All the Children Equally? Ireland 100 years on from the Easter Rising.  Oak Tree Press.

Book Reviews

  • McCrory, C. (2002). Book review of “The new psychometrics - Science, psychology and measurement” by Paul Kline.  British Journal of Educational Psychology, 71(2) 354-355.

Government Publications

  • Layte, R. & McCrory, C. (2015). Maternal Health Behaviours and Child Growth in Infancy. Dublin: Government Publications.  

  • Williams, J., Murray, A. McCrory, C. & McNally, S. (2013).  Growing Up in Ireland. Development from birth to 3 years. Dublin, Government Publications

  • Layte, R. & McCrory, C. (2011). Overweight and obesity among 9 Year Olds.  Dublin: Government Publications

  • Williams, J., Greene, S., Doyle, E., Harris, E., Layte, R., McCoy, S., McCrory, C. et al. (2010).  Growing Up in Ireland – the lives of 9-year-olds.  Dublin, Government Publications.

Other Publications

  • Morgan, M., Thornton, M., & McCrory, C. (2016). Growing Up in Ireland Literature Review Series (Number 5): Review of the Literature Pertaining to the Second Wave of Data Collection with the Child Cohort at Age 13.

  • McCrory, C., Leahy, S., & McGarrigle, CA. (2014).  What Factors are Associated with Change in Older People’s Quality of Life? In A. Nolan et al. (eds) The Over 50’s in a Changing Ireland: Economic Circumstances, Health and Wellbeing, 154-185.

  • Greene, S., Morgan, M., McCrory, C., & McNally, S. (2014). Growing Up in Ireland Literature Review Series (Number 4): Review of the Literature Pertaining to the Second Wave of Data Collection with the Infant Cohort at Three Years.

  • Williams, J., & McCrory, C. (2011).  Growing Up in Ireland Technical Series (Number 2): Report on Pre-Piloting, Piloting and Dress Rehearsal Phases of the Child Cohort. Department of Health and Children.

  • Murray, A., McCrory, C., Thornton, M. et al. (2010). Growing Up in Ireland Technical Report (Number 1): Design, Instrumentation and Procedures for the Child Cohort (at 9 Years). Department of Health and Children.  Department of Health and Children.

  • Greene, S., Williams, J., Doyle, E., Harris, E., McCrory, C. ... Whelan, C.T. (2010). Growing Up in Ireland Literature Review Series (Number 3): Review of the Literature Pertaining to the First Wave of Data Collection with the Infant Cohort at 9 Months

  • Greene, S., Williams, J., Doyle, E., Harris, E., McCrory, C. ... Whelan, C.T. (2010). Growing Up in Ireland Literature Review Series (Number 2): Review of the Literature Pertaining to the First Wave of Data Collection with the Child Cohort at 9 Years.

Select Presentations

  • The Ghost of Childhood Past: The Influence of the Early Life Social Environment on Health from Cradle to Grave. Invited Speaker, Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival, Mary Immaculate College (April, 2016).

  • Socio-Economic Variation in Heart Rate Recovery to Orthostatic Challenge.  Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 7(1). Paper presented at the SLLS conference, Dublin (October, 2015).

  • Loneliness and the Heart: Social Disadvantage, Social Isolation and Cardiovascular Health. Invited Speaker Presentation, ‘In the Psychologist’s Chair’, National College of Ireland (26/04/2015). 

  • Socio-Economic Variation in the Heart Rate Response to a Cardiovascular Stressor. Invited Speaker Presentation given at the ESRC Workshop on Biomarkers in Behavioural Science. University of Stirling, (27/02/2015).

  • Speed of Heart Rate Recovery in Response to Orthostatic Challenge: A Strong Risk Marker of Mortality. Paper presented at the Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University. (12/12/2014).

  • Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life Among Older People in Ireland: Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Invited speaker presentation given at the Trinity Week: Science of Happiness event. Trinity College Dublin (10/04/2014).   

  • The Influence of Early Life Events on Later Life health.  Invited speaker presentation given at the British Geriatric Society Conference, Belfast (19/04/2013).

Professional Memberships and Appointments

  • Visiting Research Scientist, Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University (Oct-Dec, 2014).
  •  Editorial Board Member, Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences.
  • Research Affiliate of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  • Member of the Expert Advisory Group, Growing Up in Ireland.
  • Member of the Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS).
  • Reviewer for:
  • Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
  • JAMA: Pediatrics
  • Archives of Disease in Childhood
  • Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences
  • Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences
  • European Journal of Ageing
  • Personality and Individual Differences (PAID)
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Maternal and Child Health Journal
  • British Journal of Nutrition
  • BMC Geriatrics

Funding Record

  • Health Research Board of Ireland - Emerging Investigator Award (2017): €743,000.
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • Irish Research Council Ulysses grant (2015) to promote collaborative research between Irish and French universities: €2400
    Role: Collaborator