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Dr. Cathal McCrory

Dr. Cathal McCrory joined the TILDA team in May 2012 and is a Research Assistant Professor (Psychology) in the Department of Medical Gerontology. 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. His 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.

He 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.

He is also a collaborator on the Horizon 2020 funded LIFEPATH project ( 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:

Prior to joining the TILDA team, he 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 has presented to the Oireachtas (joint houses of the Irish Parliament) on the topic of childhood obesity.

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

  • McCrory, C., Fiorito, G., McLoughlin, S. Polidoro, S., Ni Cheallaigh, C., Bourke, N., Karisola, P., Alenius, H., Vineis, P., Layte, R., & Kenny, R.A. (in press). Epigenetic clocks and allostatic load reveal potential sex-specific drivers of biological ageing. Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.

  • McCrory, C., McLoughlin, S., & O’Halloran, A. (2019). Socio-economic position under the microscope: getting ‘under the skin’ and into the cells. Current Epidemiology Reports, 1-9.

  • McNally, S., McCrory, C., Murray, A. & Quigley, J. (2019). Decomposing the social gradient in vocabulary skills at 3 years of age: A mediation analysis using data from a large representative cohort study? Infant Behaviour and Development, 57:101326. PMID: 31125856. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.04.008

  • Fiorito, G., McCrory, C., Robinson, O., Carmeli, C. Ochoa, C., et al. and the LIFEPATH consortium. (in press). Socio-economic position, lifestyle habits and biomarkers of epigenetic aging: a multi-cohort analysis. Aging. 11(7), 2045-2070. PMID:31009935. doi: 10.18632/aging.101900.

  • McCrory, C., Leahy, S., Ribeiro, A., Fraga, S., Barros, H., Vineis, P. & Layte, R. for the LIFEPATH consortium (in press). Socio-economic inequalities in measured body mass index trajectories in children in three European countries. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 3(3):226-237. PMID: 31090081. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12552.

  • McCrory, C., Fiorito, G. Ni Cheallaigh, C. Polidoro, S. Karisola, P. et al. (2019). How does Socio-Economic Position (SEP) get biologically embedded? A Comparison of Allostatic Load and the Epigenetic Clock(s). Psychoneuroendocrinology, 104, 64-73. PMID: 30818253. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.02.018

  • Nolan, A., McCrory, C., & Moore, P. (in press). Personality and Preventive Healthcare Utilisation: Evidence from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Preventive Medicine, 120:107-112. PMID: 30660708. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.12.029.

  • Layte, R., McCrory, C., Ni Cheallaigh, C., Bourke, N., Marmot, M., Ribeiro, A.I., & Vineis, P. A (in press). A Comparative Analysis of the Status Anxiety Hypothesis of Socio-economic Inequalities in Health: An Analysis of 18,349 individuals in Four Countries and Five Cohort Studies. Scientific Reports. 9(1):796. PMID: 30692559. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37440-7.

  • McCrory, C. & Kenny, R.A. (2018). Correspondence: Rebuking the concept of ageing as a disease. The Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology, 6(10), 768. PMID: 30266186: doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(18)30266-3

  • Layte, R. & McCrory, C. (2018). Fiscal Crises and Personal Troubles: The Great Recession in Ireland and Family Processes. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 53(9):987-1001 PMID: 29951928. doi: 10.1007/s00127-018-1551-9.

  • Canney, M., Leahy, S., Scarlett, S., Kenny, R.A,, Little, M., O'Seaghdha, C., McCrory, C. (in press). Kidney disease in women is associated with disadvantaged childhood socioeconomic position. The American Journal of Nephrology. 47(5), 292-299. PMID: 29779032, doi: 10.1159/000488362. Epub 2018 May 18

  • Stringhini, S., Carmeli, C., Jokela, M., Avendano, M., McCrory, C. et al for the Lifepath Consortium. (2018). Socioeconomic status, non-communicable disease risk factors, and walking speed in older adults: multi-cohort population based study. BMJ, 360:k1046. PMID: 29572376. 73(2):279-291

  • 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. 187(7):1438-1448. PMID: 29370331. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwy001.

  • 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. 7(1):16266. PMID: 29176660.

  • 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, 30;12(5):e0178071. PMID:28557991

  • 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. 72(12) 1717-1723 PMID: 28407037

  • 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. 97, 63-69.

  • 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. PMID: 28159391.

  • 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. Jan;72(1):38-50. PMID: 27974474.

  • 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:

  • 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. 73(2):279-291

  • 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.

  • McCrory, C. & Layte, R. (2011). The Effect of Breastfeeding on Children’s Educational Test Scores at Nine Years of Age: Results of an Irish Cohort Study. Social Science and Medicine, 72(5), 1515-1521. PMID: 21474223

  • McCrory, C. & Cooper, C. (2007). Overlap Between Different Visual Inspection Time Tasks and General Intelligence. Learning and Individual Differences, 17, 187-192.

  • McCrory, C. & Cooper, C. (2005). The Relationship between Three Auditory Inspection Time Tasks and General Intelligence. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 1835-1845.

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.

Professional Memberships and Appointments

  • Associate Editor: Frontiers in Public Health: Inequalities in Health (2018).
  • Editorial Board Member, Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences (2018).
  • Visiting Research Scientist, Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University (Oct-Dec, 2014).
  • 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).

Funding Record

  • MITACS Globalink Research Award Abroad (2018): The biology of social inequality ($6000)
    Role: Host supervisor
  • Health Research Board (2018) - Applied Partnership Award (€199,242). Premature Ageing in Long-term Homeless Adults (PATH)
    Role: Co-Applicant
  • Health Research Board (2017) - Emerging Investigator Award (€743,000). An Allostatic Load Framework for understanding social differences in health and mortality
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • Irish Research Council Ulysses grant (2015) to promote collaborative research between Irish and French universities: €2400
    Role: Collaborator