Dr Joanna Mchugh Power

Psychology

Senior Lecturer

Education House
First
1.1.5
(01) 708 6658

Biography

I am an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Maynooth University. My research area is loneliness and social functioning in later life. I am particularly interested in formulating definitions of loneliness, understanding its impact on health outcomes such as cognitive ageing and physical health, and evaluating interventions designed to reduce loneliness. I am a member of I-LINK (International Loneliness and Isolation Research Network), an international consortium of experts, the goal of which is to increase society’s ability through international collaboration to respond to loneliness throughout the life cycle by facilitating the sharing of knowledge and building of connections that will help improve the quality of research, policy, practice and overall understanding of loneliness. 
I have received almost 500,000 euro in research funding in recent years, and I have over 40 peer-reviewed publications in the field of gerontology and social functioning. I am particularly interested in collaborating with the voluntary and non-governmental sectors to evaluate services that aim to reduce loneliness. I am currently supervising 3 PhD students who are conducting research on areas related to loneliness and cognitive ageing. 

Research Interests

My research focuses on loneliness and its impact on health in later life, from an inter-disciplinary (psychological and public health/epidemiology) perspective. I have focused on three key priorities: defining loneliness, exploring its impact on health, and identifying and implementing successful interventions for loneliness, in older adult populations. 

Research Projects

  Project Role Funding Body / Program Description Start Date End Date Award (€)
NF/2019/15788215-SpOusal CaregIver Loneliness during the Nursing Home Admission of a Person with Dementia. PI Irish Research Council (IRC) / New Foundations 01-MAY-20 31-DEC-21 11978
Health and Loneliness in Older Adults PI Health Research Board / HRB / Government State Bodies 31-JUL-18 31-OCT-21 158000
Alcohol Consumption and Brain Health in Older Adults across the Island of Ireland Co-PI / Government State Bodies 01-JAN-18 30-MAR-19 60000
Social determinants of Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults PI Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland / Government State Bodies 01-OCT-14 30-SEP-18 150000

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
2020 'HALO: Study protocol for a single-case experimental design study evaluating the moderating impact of a befriending intervention on the association between loneliness and health in older adults'
Hannigan, C., Hanly, P., Kee, F., Lawlor, B., Holton, E., Walsh, C., Scharf, T., Coen, R., Leatham, V., Moynihan, S., Lane, K., McHugh Power, J. (2020) 'HALO: Study protocol for a single-case experimental design study evaluating the moderating impact of a befriending intervention on the association between loneliness and health in older adults'. Hrb Open Research, [Details]
2020 'Confirmatory factor analysis comparing incentivized experiments with self-report methods to elicit adolescent smoking and vaping social norms'
Murray, J.M., Kimbrough, E.O., Krupka, E.L., Ramalingam, A., Kumar, R., McHugh Power, J., Sanchez-Franco, S., Sarmiento, O.L., Kee, F. & Hunter, R. (2020) 'Confirmatory factor analysis comparing incentivized experiments with self-report methods to elicit adolescent smoking and vaping social norms'. Scientific Reports, [Details]
2020 'Clustering of behavioural changes and their associations with cognitive decline in older adults'
Geeske Peters, Roman Romero-Ortuno, Brian Lawlor, Rose Ann Kenny, Joanna McHugh Power (2020) 'Clustering of behavioural changes and their associations with cognitive decline in older adults'. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, [Details]
2020 'Adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet and global cognitive functioning: A systematic review and meta-analysis'
Pennie, B., Loughrey, D., McHugh Power, J., McEvoy, C., Sheerin, C. & Kelly, M. (2020) 'Adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet and global cognitive functioning: A systematic review and meta-analysis'. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, [Details]
2019 'Can the REBT Explain Loneliness? Theoretical and clinical applications'
Hyland, P., McGinty, G., Karatzias, T., Murphy, J., Vallieres, F., McHugh Power, J. (2019) 'Can the REBT Explain Loneliness? Theoretical and clinical applications'. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 48 (1):39-51 [Details]
2019 'Systemic inflammatory markers and sources of social support among older adults in the Memory Research Unit cohort'
McHugh Power, J.E., Carney, S., Hannigan, C., Brennan, S., Wolfe, H., Lynch, M., Kee, F. & Lawlor, B.A. (2019) 'Systemic inflammatory markers and sources of social support among older adults in the Memory Research Unit cohort'. Journal of Health Psychology, 24 (3):397-406 [full-text] [Details]
2019 'Comparisons of the discrepancy between loneliness and social isolation across Ireland and Sweden: Findings from TILDA and SNAC-K'
McHugh Power, J., Sjöberg, L., Kee, F., Kenny, R.A. & Lawlor, B.A. (2019) 'Comparisons of the discrepancy between loneliness and social isolation across Ireland and Sweden: Findings from TILDA and SNAC-K'. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, [full-text] [Details]
2019 'Lonely SARTs: Loneliness and sustained attention in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing'
McHugh Power, J., Hannigan, C., Carney, S., Feeney, J., Kenny, R.A., Kee, F. & Lawlor, B.A. (2019) 'Lonely SARTs: Loneliness and sustained attention in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing'. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, [full-text] [Details]
2019 'Mediating the relationship between loneliness and cognitive function: The role of depressive and anxiety symptoms'
McHugh Power, J., Tang, J., Kenny, R.A., Lawlor, B.A. & Kee, F. (2019) 'Mediating the relationship between loneliness and cognitive function: The role of depressive and anxiety symptoms'. Aging and Mental Health, [full-text] [Details]
2019 'Quality not quantity: Loneliness subtypes, psychological trauma, and mental health in the U.S. adult population'
Hyland, P., Shevlin, M., Cloitre, M., Karatzias, T., Vallières, F., McGinty, G., Fox, R. & McHugh Power, J. (2019) 'Quality not quantity: Loneliness subtypes, psychological trauma, and mental health in the U.S. adult population'. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, [DOI] [full-text] [Details]
2019 'Loneliness and social engagement in older adults: Bivariate dual change score analysis'
McHugh Power, J., Steptoe, A., Kee, F. & Lawlor, B.A (2019) 'Loneliness and social engagement in older adults: Bivariate dual change score analysis'. Psychology and Aging, 34 (1):152-162 [Details]
2020 'Social factors may mediate the relationship between hearing loss and episodic memory'
Loughrey, D., Feeney, J., Kee, F., Lawlor, B.A., Kenny, R.A., Woodside, J., Setti, A., McHugh Power, J.E (2020) 'Social factors may mediate the relationship between hearing loss and episodic memory'. Aging and Mental Health, [Details]
2020 'Posttraumatic stress disorder among older adults: A differential item functioning analysis of PTSD in ICD-11 and DSM-5'
Fox, R., Hyland, P., McHugh Power, J. & Coogan, A.N. (2020) 'Posttraumatic stress disorder among older adults: A differential item functioning analysis of PTSD in ICD-11 and DSM-5'. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, [Details]
2016 'Social health and dementia: a European consensus on the operationalization of the concept and directions for research and practice'
Dröes, R.M., Chattat, R., Diaz, A., Gove, DDröes, R.M., Chattat, R., Diaz, A., Gove, D., Graff, M., Murphy, K., Verbeek, H., Vernooij-Dassen, M., Clare, L., Johannessen, A., Roes, M., Verhey, F., Charras, K., van Audenhove, C., Casey, D., Evans, S., Fabbo, A., Franco, M., Gerritsen, D., Vittoria Gianelli, M., Gonςalves-Pereira, M., Gzil, F., van Hout, H., Innes, A., Hee Jeon, Y., Koopmans, R., Kristensen, F., Losada Baltar, A., McEvoy, P., McHugh, J., Meiland, F., Moniz-Cook, E., Parkes, J., Rymaszewska, J., Spruytte, N., Surr, C., de Vugt, M., Wolf-Ostermann, K., Zuidema, S., Graff, M., Murphy, K., Verbeek, H., Vernooij-Dassen, M., Clare, L., Johannessen, A., Roes, M., Verhey, F., Charras, K., van Audenhove, C., Casey, D., Evans, S., Fabbo, A., Franco, M., Gerritsen, D., Vittoria Gianelli, M., Gonςalves-Pereira, M., Gzil, F., van Hout, H., Innes, A., Hee Jeon, Y., Koopmans, R., Kristensen, F., Losada Baltar, A., McEvoy, P., McHugh, J., Meiland, F., Moniz-Cook, E., Parkes, J., Rymaszewska, J., Spruytte, N., Surr, C., de Vugt, M., Wolf-Ostermann, K., Zuidema, S. (2016) 'Social health and dementia: a European consensus on the operationalization of the concept and directions for research and practice'. Aging and Mental Health, 21 (1) [Details]
2010 'Perceiving emotion in crowds: The role of dynamic body postures on the perception of emotion in crowded scenes'
McHugh, J.E., McDonnell, R., O’Sullivan, C. & Newell, F. (2010) 'Perceiving emotion in crowds: The role of dynamic body postures on the perception of emotion in crowded scenes'. Experimental Brain Research, 204 (3):361-372 [DOI] [Details]
2012 'The sound of the crowd: Auditory information modulates the perceived emotion of a crowd based on bodily expressions'
McHugh, J.E., Kearney, G., Rice, H. & Newell, F. (2012) 'The sound of the crowd: Auditory information modulates the perceived emotion of a crowd based on bodily expressions'. Emotion, 12 (1):120-131 [DOI] [Details]
2012 'Psychological distress as a key component of psychosocial functioning in community dwelling older people'
Schnittger, R.I.B., Walsh, C.D., Casey, A.M., Wherton, J.P., McHugh, J.E. & Lawlor, B.A. (2012) 'Psychological distress as a key component of psychosocial functioning in community dwelling older people'. Aging and Mental Health, 16 (2):199-207 [DOI] [Details]
2011 'Living alone does not account for the association between loneliness and sleep in older adults. Health Psychology'
McHugh, J.E. & Lawlor, B.A. (2011) 'Living alone does not account for the association between loneliness and sleep in older adults. Health Psychology'. Health Psychology, 30 (2) [DOI] [Details]
2011 'Psychosocial correlates of aspects of sleep quality in community-dwelling Irish older adults'
McHugh, J.E., Casey, A.M. & Lawlor, B.A. (2011) 'Psychosocial correlates of aspects of sleep quality in community-dwelling Irish older adults'. Aging and Mental Health, 15 (6):749-755 [DOI] [Details]
2012 'Orthostatic hypotension and subjective sleep quality in older people'
McHugh, J.E., Fan, C.W., Kenny, R.A. & Lawlor, B.A. (2012). (2012) 'Orthostatic hypotension and subjective sleep quality in older people'. Aging and Mental Health, 16 (8):958-963 [DOI] [Details]
2012 'Identifying opportunities for supporting older caregivers of persons with dementia through information and communication technology'
McHugh, J.E., Wherton, J.P., Prendergast, D.K. & Lawlor, B.A. (2012) 'Identifying opportunities for supporting older caregivers of persons with dementia through information and communication technology'. Gerontechnology, 10 (4):220-230 [DOI] [Details]
2012 'Teleconferencing as a source of social support for older spousal caregivers: Initial explorations and recommendations for future research'
McHugh, J.E., Wherton, J.P., Prendergast, D.K. & Lawlor, B.A. (2012) 'Teleconferencing as a source of social support for older spousal caregivers: Initial explorations and recommendations for future research'. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias, 27 (6):382-388 [DOI] [Details]
2012 'Exercise and social support are associated with psychological distress outcomes in a population of community-dwelling older adults'
McHugh, J.E. & Lawlor, B.A. (2012) 'Exercise and social support are associated with psychological distress outcomes in a population of community-dwelling older adults'. Journal of Health Psychology, 17 (6):834-845 [DOI] [Details]
2012 'Social support differentially moderates the impact of neuroticism and extraversion on mental wellbeing among community dwelling older adults'
McHugh, J.E., & Lawlor, B.A. (2012) 'Social support differentially moderates the impact of neuroticism and extraversion on mental wellbeing among community dwelling older adults'. Journal of Mental Health, 21 (5):448-458 [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Time to bed is associated with cognitive outcome: an analysis of sleep-times and wake-times in community-dwelling older adults'
McHugh, J.E., Walsh, L.C. & Lawlor, B.A. (2013) 'Time to bed is associated with cognitive outcome: an analysis of sleep-times and wake-times in community-dwelling older adults'. Biological Rhythm Research, 45 (1):103-114 [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Perceived stress mediates the relationship between emotional loneliness and sleep quality over time in older adults'
McHugh, J.E. & Lawlor, B.A. (2013) 'Perceived stress mediates the relationship between emotional loneliness and sleep quality over time in older adults'. British Journal of Health Psychology, 18 (3):546-555 [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Perceived health status is associated with hours of exercise per week in older adults independent of physical health'
McHugh, J.E. & Lawlor, B.A. (2013) 'Perceived health status is associated with hours of exercise per week in older adults independent of physical health'. Journal of physical activity & health, 10 (8):1102-1108 [DOI] [Details]
2013 'Visibility of wearable sensors as measured using eye tracking glasses'
King, M., Hu, F., McHugh, J.E., Murphy, E., Newman, E., Irving, K. & Smeaton, A. (2013) 'Visibility of wearable sensors as measured using eye tracking glasses'. Communications in Computer and Information Science, 413 [DOI] [Details]
2014 'A shared mealtime approach to improving social and nutritional functioning among older adults living alone: Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial'
McHugh, J.E., Lee, O., Aspell, N., Lawlor, B.A. & Brennan, S. (2014) 'A shared mealtime approach to improving social and nutritional functioning among older adults living alone: Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial'. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21 (4) [DOI] [Details]
2014 'The meaning of mealtimes: Social and nutritional needs identified among older adults attending day services and by healthcare professionals'
McHugh, J.E., Lee, O., Lawlor, B.A. & Brennan, S. (2014) 'The meaning of mealtimes: Social and nutritional needs identified among older adults attending day services and by healthcare professionals'. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30 (3) [DOI] [Details]
2015 'Executive functioning independently predicts self-rated health and improvement in self-rated health over time among community-dwelling older adults'
McHugh, J.E. & Lawlor, B.A. (2015) 'Executive functioning independently predicts self-rated health and improvement in self-rated health over time among community-dwelling older adults'. Aging and Mental Health, 20 (4):415-422 [DOI] [Details]
2015 'Self-rated health and reasons for ratings among Irish older adults'
McHugh, J.E., Cunningham, C., Crosby,L. & Lawlor, B.A (2015) 'Self-rated health and reasons for ratings among Irish older adults'. Irish Journal of Psychology, 35 (4):205-215 [DOI] [Details]
2016 'Diabetes and brain health: Implications for practice'
Dolan, C., McHugh, J.E. & Lawlor, B.A. (2016) 'Diabetes and brain health: Implications for practice'. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33 (3):179-191 [DOI] [Details]
2016 'Psychological distress and frailty transitions over time in community-dwelling older adults'
McHugh, J.E., Dowling, M., Butler, A. & Lawlor, B.A. (2016) 'Psychological distress and frailty transitions over time in community-dwelling older adults'. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33 (2):111-119 [DOI] [Details]
2016 'Peer volunteer perspectives following a complex social cognitive intervention: A qualitative investigation'
McHugh, J.E. Lee, O., Aspell, N., Connolly, L., Brennan, S. & Lawlor, B.A. (2016) 'Peer volunteer perspectives following a complex social cognitive intervention: A qualitative investigation'. International Psychogeriatrics, 28 (9):1545-1554 [DOI] [Details]
2016 'Relate: Pilot study of the effects of a mealtime intervention on social cognitive factors and energy intake among older adults living alone'
McHugh Power, J.E., Lee, O., Aspell, N., McCormack, E., Loftus, M., Connolly, L., Lawlor, B.A. & Brennan, S. (2016) 'Relate: Pilot study of the effects of a mealtime intervention on social cognitive factors and energy intake among older adults living alone'. British Journal of Nutrition, 116 (9):1573-1581 [DOI] [Details]
2016 'The discrepancy between social isolation and loneliness as a clinically meaningful metric: Findings from the Irish and English longitudinal studies of ageing (TILDA and ELSA)'
McHugh Power, J.E., Kenny, R., Lawlor, B.A., Steptoe, A. & Kee, F. (2016) 'The discrepancy between social isolation and loneliness as a clinically meaningful metric: Findings from the Irish and English longitudinal studies of ageing (TILDA and ELSA)'. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 32 (6):664-674 [DOI] [Details]
2017 'Social support mediates the relationships between extraversion, neuroticism, and cognitive function in older adults'
McHugh Power, J.E., Lawlor, B.A. and Kee, F. (2017) 'Social support mediates the relationships between extraversion, neuroticism, and cognitive function in older adults'. BMC Public Health, 147 (1):144-152 [DOI] [Details]
2017 'Exploring the meaning of loneliness among socially isolated older adults in rural Ireland: a qualitative investigation'
McHugh Power, J.E., Hannigan, C., Carney, S. & Lawlor, B.A. (2017) 'Exploring the meaning of loneliness among socially isolated older adults in rural Ireland: a qualitative investigation'. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 14 (4):394-414 [DOI] [Details]
2017 'Social Relationships and Cognitive Functioning in Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review'
Kelly, M.E., Duff, H., Kelly, S., McHugh Power, J.E., Brennan, S., Lawlor, B.A. & Loughrey, D.G. (2017) 'Social Relationships and Cognitive Functioning in Healthy Older Adults: A Systematic Review'. Systematic Reviews, 6 (1) [DOI] [Details]
2018 'Mediators of the relationship between social activities and cognitive function among older Irish adults: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing'
McHugh Power, J.E.,Tang, J., Kenny, R., Lawlor, B.A. & Kee, F. (2018) 'Mediators of the relationship between social activities and cognitive function among older Irish adults: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing'. Aging and Mental Health, 22 (1):129-134 [DOI] [full-text] [Details]
2018 'Conceptualising loneliness in health research: Philosophical and Psychological Ways Forward'
McHugh Power, J., Dolezal, L., Kee, F. & Lawlor, B.A. (2018) 'Conceptualising loneliness in health research: Philosophical and Psychological Ways Forward'. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 38 (4):219-234 [DOI] [full-text] [Details]

Conference Publications

  Year Publication
2016 “Tuning” into cognitive function: Belongingness and cognitive functioning among participants of the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing
McHugh Power, J.E., Dolezal, L., Lawlor, B.A. & Kee, F. (2016) “Tuning” into cognitive function: Belongingness and cognitive functioning among participants of the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing Cognitive Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society Annual Conference [Details]
2016 Loneliness and global cognitive functioning: A cross-lagged analysis from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing
McHugh Power, J.E., Kenny, R.A., Kee, F. & Lawlor, B.A. (2016) Loneliness and global cognitive functioning: A cross-lagged analysis from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing Cognitive Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society Annual Conference [Details]
2016 Emotional and social loneliness, and depressive symptomatology among adults aged over 50
McHugh Power, J.E., Hannigan, C., Hyland, P., Kenny, R.A., Kee, F. & Lawlor, B.A. (2016) Emotional and social loneliness, and depressive symptomatology among adults aged over 50 European Union Geriatric Medicine Society Annual Conference [Details]
2016 Belongingness and Loneliness: Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives
Dolezal, L., McHugh Power, J.E. & Carney, S. (2016) Belongingness and Loneliness: Psychological and Philosophical Perspectives Institute of Public Health Open Conference [Details]
2017 Social asymmetry and psychological outcomes: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing
McHugh Power, J.E., Kenny, R.A., Lawlor, B.A., Kee, F. (2017) Social asymmetry and psychological outcomes: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing EU Geriatric Medicine Society Annual Conference [Details]
2017 Social asymmetry and physical health outcomes: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing
McHugh Power, J.E., Kee, F., Kenny, R.A., Lawlor, B.A. (2017) Social asymmetry and physical health outcomes: Results from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing European Health Psychology Society Annual Conference [Details]
2017 Loneliness, verbal fluency, and social engagement over time: A mediation analysis
McHugh Power, J.E., Kee, F., Lawlor, B.A., & Steptoe, A. (2017) Loneliness, verbal fluency, and social engagement over time: A mediation analysis Alzheimer’s Association International Conference [Details]
2017 The association between social asymmetry and self-rated health in community-dwelling participants of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing
McHugh Power, J.E., Kee, F., Kenny, R.A. & Lawlor, B.A. (2017) The association between social asymmetry and self-rated health in community-dwelling participants of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing Psychology, Health and Medicine Annual Conference (PSI Division of Health Psychology) [Details]
2017 Targeting appropriate users of a befriending service: Recommendations from Qualitative and Quantitative Studies
McHugh Power, J.E., Hannigan, C., Carney, S., Murphy, A., Moynihan, S., Kee, F. & Lawlor, B.A. (2017) Targeting appropriate users of a befriending service: Recommendations from Qualitative and Quantitative Studies Structured Population and Health-Services Research Education (SPHeRE) Annual Conference [Details]
2017 Loneliness, verbal fluency, and social engagement over time: A mediation analysis
McHugh Power, J.E., Kee, F., Lawlor, B.A. & Steptoe, A. (2017) Loneliness, verbal fluency, and social engagement over time: A mediation analysis Alzheimer’s Association International Conference [Details]
2017 Social asymmetry and physical health outcomes
McHugh Power, J.E., Kee, F., Kenny, R., Lawlor, B.A. (2017) Social asymmetry and physical health outcomes European Health Psychology Society [Details]
2017 Social asymmetry and psychological outcomes: Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing
McHugh Power, J.E., Kenny, R., Lawlor, B.A. & Kee, F. (2017) Social asymmetry and psychological outcomes: Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing EU Geriatric Medicine Society Annual Conference [Details]
2018 Sleep, loneliness, and their impact on aspects of brain health
McHugh Power, J.E., Kee, F., Lawlor, B.A. & Kenny, R.A (2018) Sleep, loneliness, and their impact on aspects of brain health European Health Psychology Society Annual Conference [Details]
2019 Social Asymmetry predicts semantic memory decline in older adults
McHugh Power, J.E. (2019) Social Asymmetry predicts semantic memory decline in older adults American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Annual Conference [Details]

Honours and Awards

  Year Title Awarding Body
2018 President's Award for Contribution to Research National College of Ireland

Professional Associations

  Association Function From / To
British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist /
Interdem Member 01-OCT-14 / 11-MAY-20
I-LINK Member 02-MAR-20 /

Outreach Activities

  Description

Founding committee member of the ACN, which provides informal support for anyone affected by dementia