Growing Up in Ireland Annual Research Conference 2023

The Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) annual research conference took place yesterday (November 8th, 2023) at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. The event was attended by over 200 delegates from a wide range of research, practice and policy backgrounds, all focused on the improvement of the lives and well-being of children in Ireland. The conference acts as an important forum for sharing new research based on the GUI datasets; there were 24 research presentations, along with addresses from Minister Roderic O’Gorman, Secretary General Kevin McCarthy (DCEDIY) and keynote speaker Professor Morag Treanor.

This was the 15th annual conference for GUI. However, it represented the first conference under the revised management structure of the study, which (as of January 2023) sees the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) and the Central Statistics Office sharing responsibility for managing the study.

The event was opened by DCEDIY Assistant Secretary Laura McGarrigle. She introduced Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, who spoke positively of the continued benefits of the study and associated data. He noted that Growing Up in Ireland has “informed policy making across Government on issues as diverse as housing adequacy, access to arts for young children, the effects of the pandemic restrictions on young adults and the impact of screen time on the psycho-social development of children”. The Minister also took the opportunity to thank the study’s participant children, young people and their families, and acknowledge that their continued contribution to the study “will ultimately make a positive difference to the lives of children, young people and families like their own”.

A fascinating keynote address was delivered by Professor Morag Treanor from the University of Glasgow. Citing evidence from Scotland’s national longitudinal study, Growing Up in Scotland, Professor Treanor discussed the longitudinal trajectories and interconnectedness of poverty, work intensity, child and parental mental health issues. Professor Treanor was introduced by DCEDIY Secretary General Kevin McCarthy, who noted that “ending child poverty is a top priority for the Government, so it is with a very keen ear and real purpose we listen to Professor Treanor’s research findings on the importance of emphasising the need for a contextualised whole-family approach to poverty and to mental health.”

In total, there were 24 research presentation using GUI data across the day’s programme; these presentations explored a wide range of topics including volunteering, self-harm, bullying, gambling, the impact of the pandemic, lone parent benefit reform, pregnancy complications, educational transition and childhood and adolescent mental health issues. The breadth and diversity of the presentations highlight the value of the data stemming from GUI’s two cohorts. This is soon to be supplemented by a third birth cohort, with data collection beginning at age 9 months in 2024.

Two awards were presented at the event. Niamh Dooley, a PhD graduate from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, was awarded best presentation with a public policy focus. Using data from Growing Up in Ireland, she discussed what young adulthood looks like for those who suffered significantly with their mental health in childhood. Emma Butler, a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, was awarded the best presentation from an early career researcher; she gave a presentation examining the relationship between cumulative pregnancy complications and offspring’s mental health in middle childhood.

Slides for all presentations on the day will be made available on the Growing Up in Ireland website ( in the coming days. The conference programme and book of abstracts are now available to download.

Queries should be addressed to

Conference Presentations 2023


Keynote presentation:
Poverty and the indivisibility of child and parental mental health
Morag Treanor (University of Glasgow)

Growing Up in Ireland Survey Update
Ger Doolan (CSO)

Volunteering among young adults in Ireland
Emer Smyth (ESRI)

Caregiving among young adults: antecedents and outcomes
Helen Russell (ESRI)

Identifying high-risk subgroups for self-harm in adolescents and young adults: a longitudinal latent class analysis of risk markers
David McEvoy (RCSI)

Young adult functional outcomes of childhood psychopathology
Niamh Dooley (RCSI / King’s College London)

Impact of bullying and parent-child conflict on self-concept: Analysis using secondary data from waves 1 and 2 of Growing up in Ireland Survey
Kayla O’Flaherty (TCD)

The relationship between victimisation, depressive symptoms and self-concept in 9-year-old children
Mary Bollard (Northumbria University)

The association between gambling and mental health outcomes for young people in Ireland
Gretta Mohan (ESRI)

Use of pornography and sexual health and wellbeing in young adulthood: Evidence from Growing Up in Ireland
Anne Nolan (ESRI)

Associations between parental and child drinking behaviours
Eoin McNamara (DCEDIY)

Digital use and digital inequality among Irish children from different ethnic backgrounds
Melissa Bohnert (TCD)

Narrowing English language achievements gaps by migration background and the role of school
Frances McGinnity (ESRI)

Lone parent benefit reform in Ireland: beyond the labour market effects
Claire Keane (ESRI)

A latent class analysis of mental health symptoms in primary school children: Exploring associations with school attendance problems
Jane Sharpe (University of Galway)

Externalising behaviour among primary school children
Emer Smyth (ESRI)

Compensatory and cumulative: Mother, father and teacher-child relationships interact to predict school adjustment and achievement
Caoimhe Dempsey (UCD)

Longitudinal effects of early parent involvement on student post-school intentions
Liz Smith (University of Georgia)

Examining the post-school decision-making and self-determination of disabled young adults in Ireland
Keyu Ye (ESRI)

Harmonisation potential evaluation of oral health questionnaire data in longitudinal child cohort surveys
Vinay Sharma (TCD)

‘Learning with’ GUI, ‘learning with’ LGBT+ youth: Twinned quantitative and qualitative analyses of sexual orientation and gender identity data
Nerilee Ceatha (UCD), Katie McCabe (Independent PPI Panel), Jayson Pope (Independent PPI Panel)

Assessing the effectiveness of a prevention-focused programme: A comparative study against national norms
Alexandra Acala (Early Learning Initiative)

Examining mental health needs of children and adolescents across multiple representative cohorts
Fiona McNicholas (UCD)

Pregnancy complications and childhood mental health: is the association modified by sex or social risk? Findings from the Growing Up in Ireland national infant cohort study
Emma Butler (RCSI)

An analysis of the relationship between postpartum parental mental health and child outcomes in the early years
Caroline Kinneen (UCD)

Disruptions and discontinuities in child development? The impact of the pandemic on children’s distress
Carmel Hannan (University of Limerick)


Conference Archive

Details of previous conferences are available using the links below:

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2022

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2021

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2020

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2019

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2018

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2017

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2016

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2015

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2014

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2013

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2012

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2011

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2010

Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference 2009

Growing Up in Ireland Mini Conferences (2013)