Researchers at UCD


Ela Polek

Visiting Research Fellow

School Of Psychology
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168392


I completed a 5-year masters program in Psychology at the University of Warsaw, Poland, specialising in psychometrics and psychotherapy. After a brief period of practicing as a psychologist, I moved to the Netherlands where at the University of Groningen I received a scholarship for my doctoral research on the adjustment and well-being of immigrants. Having completed my PhD in 2008, I worked on two postdoctoral projects at the University of London, researching pathways to well-being among socially disadvantaged women in the UK (Institute of Education), and the quality of life and well-being of kidney transplant patients (Royal Holloway). Following this, I joined UCD Social Science Research Centre as a data analyst/research fellow to facilitate the usage of the Growing up in Ireland data in the college. In March 2012 I was appointed as a lecturer in UCD School of Psychology.




Year 2008 Institution: University of Groningen
Qualification: PhD Subject: social psychology



Polek, E (2008) Attachment in cultural context (Published Doctoral Dissertation). The Netherlands: University of Groningen. Available Online [Details]

Book Chapters

Polek, E. & Coen, M. (2012) 'Parental linguistic adjustment or social status: what is more important for adjustment in migrant children?' In: R. Dimitrova, M. Bender & F. Van de Vijver (eds). Advances in immigrant family research. Netherlands: Springer. [Details]
Bardi, A., Jaspal, R., Polek, E., & Schwartz, S. (2012) 'Values and identity process theory: Theoretical integration and empirical interactions' In: R. Jaspal & G.M. Breakwell (eds). Identity process theory: Identity, social action and social change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Link to full text [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Harpur, L. J., Polek, E., van Harmelen, A. L. (2015) 'The Role of Timing of Maltreatment and Child Intelligence in Pathways to Low Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Adolescence'. Child Abuse and Neglect, . [Details]
Brady, A. M., Polek, E., Hennessy, E. (2015) 'Teenage Parenthood and Child Externalising and Internalising Problems: Evidence from the 'Growing Up in Ireland' Study'. The Irish Journal of Psychology, . [Details]
Reynolds, D., Hennessy, E., Polek, E (2014) 'Is breastfeeding in infancy predictive of child mental wellbeing and protective against obesity at 9-years of age?'. Child Care Health and Development, 40 (6):882-890. [Details]
Goodwin, R., Polek, E., & Goodwin, K. (2013) 'Perceived changes in health and interactions with 'the Paracetamol force': A multi-method study'. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 7 (2):152-172. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Goodwin, R., Polek, E., & Bardi, A. (2012) 'Values and Beliefs: A longitudinal Study within a Major Life Transition'. European Journal of Personality, 26 (3):360-370. [DOI] [Details]
Schoon, I. & Polek, E. (2011) 'Teenage career aspiration and adult career attainment: The role of gender, social background and general cognitive ability'. International Journal of Behavioural Development, 35 (3):210-217. [DOI] [Details]
Schoon, I. & Polek, E. (2011) 'Pathways to economic well-being among teenage mothers in Great Britain'. European Psychologist, 16 (1):11-20. [Details]
Polek, E., Van Oudenhoven, J. P., & Ten Berge, J. (2011) ''Evidence for a 'Migrant Personality': Attachment styles of Poles in Poland and in The Netherlands'. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 9 (4):311-326. [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Polek, E., Wohrle, J. & Van Oudenhoven, J.P. (2010) 'The Role of Attachment Styles, Perceived Discrimination and Cultural Distance in Adjustment of German and Eastern European Immigrants in the Netherlands'. Cross-Cultural Research, 44 (1):60-88. [DOI] [Details]
Polek, E., Van Oudenhoven, J. P., & Ten Berge, J. (2008) 'Attachment styles and demographic factors as predictors of sociocultural and psychological adjustment of Eastern European immigrants in the Netherlands'. International Journal of Psychology, 43 (5):919-929. [DOI] [Details]
Polek, E. & Schoon, I. (2008) 'Sociocultural adaptation of Polish brides in the Netherlands: Marital and occupational status'. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, . [Details]

Other Journals

Schoon, I & Polek, E (2009) 'Pathways to economic well-being among teenage mothers in Great Britain' GeNet Newsletter nr 4 . [DOI] [Details]

Conference Publications

Barron, E. & Polek, E. (2013) Underemployment, overemployment and marital satisfaction in Irish working mothers: A spillover-crossover perspective 43rd Annual Conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland, Sligo, Ireland [Details]
Polek, E. & Wach, D. (2013) Child Neglect Neglected: Could we Make Better use of Teachers¿ Reports about Child Neglect in Ireland and the USA? Growing Up in Ireland 5th Annual Research Conference, Dublin, Ireland [Details]
Polek, E. (2013) Can a change in values buffer the negative effect of economic downturn on wellbeing? European survey research association. Ljubljana, Slovenia [Details]
Barron, E. & Polek, E. (2013) The Importance of Striking Balance: Underemployment, Overemployment, and Psychological and Marital Well‐Being in Mothers of Infants, and their Partners Growing Up in Ireland 5th Annual Research Conference, Dublin [Details]
Coen, M.& Polek, E. (2013) A Lark in the Park: Child Injury and Neighbourhood Characteristics in Ireland Growing Up in Ireland 5th Annual Research Conference, Dublin [Details]
Polek, E. et al. (2012) Child injuries in Ireland: Risk factors related to family, school, neighbourhood and the child Growing Up in Ireland Annual Conference Dublin, [Details]
Polek, E. et al. (2012) Economic crisis, value change and psychological well-being European Social Survey Conference Nicosia, Cyprus, [Details]
Ramsay, H., Polek, E., Nelson, L., Kelleher, C., Kelleher, I., Fitzpatrick, C., Malone, K. (2012) Identification of risk and protective factors for psychopathology at age 9 in an Irish cohort: results of the Growing Up in Ireland Study Centre for Longitudinal Studies Conference. The value and use of cohort studies for social investigation and policy making. London, the UK [Details]
Vanni-Igbinomwanhia, V. & Polek, E. (2011) Childhood obesity: Impacts of lifestyle, parental factors and ethnicity: A cross-sectional study in Ireland Growing up in Ireland Annual Conference Dublin, Ireland, [DOI] [Details]
Polek, E. (2011) Predictors of child well-being in Irish families: evidence from the GUI study Summer School on Poverty and Social Exclusion University College Dublin, [Details]
Polek, E. et al. (2011) Values and beliefs: A longitudinal study within a major life transition The 4th Conference of the European Survey Research Association Lausanne, Switzerland, [Details]
Polek, E. (2011) Sociolinguistic acculturation and children's social functioning: Evidence from migrant families in 'Growing Up in Ireland' survey Regional Conference of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Istanbul, Turkey, [Details]
Polek, E. (2011) Household and individual characteristics predicting violent conflict within couples in Ireland Growing up in Ireland Annual Conference Dublin, [DOI] [Details]
Polek, E. & Schoon, I. (2009) Pathways to psychological well-being among teenage mothers in Great Britain ESRC Gender Equality Network (GeNet) Symposium Cambridge, UK, Available Online [Details]
Schoon, I. & Polek, E. (2009) High hopes in a changing world: Social disadvantage and educational aspirations in three age cohorts ESRC Gender Equality Network (GeNet) Symposium Cambridge, UK, Available Online [Details]
Polek, E (2008) Sociocultural adaptation of Polish brides in the Netherlands Invited seminar: Cross-cultural Psychology Research Group University of Tilburg, the Netherlands, [Details]
Polek, E. & Van Oudenhoven, J.P. (2008) A cultural look at parenting and attachment styles in Eastern and Western Europe 19th Congress of Cross-Cultural Psychology Bremen, Germany, [Details]

Published Reports

Fahey, T., Keilthy, P., & Polek, E. (2012) Family Relationships and Family Well-Being: A Study of the Families of Nine Year-Olds in Ireland. Family Support Agency, Dublin. Link to full text [Details]


Research Interests

  • individual and contextual predictors of well being
  • resilience and youth mental health
  • social, cross-cultural and personality psychology
  • life-span and family studies
  • applied statistics: structural equation modeling, multilevel modeling, latent class analysis, multiple imputations
  • secondary data usage

Research Projects

Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Dissemination of research findings
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-13 / 31-OCT-14
Sponsor : Enterprise Ireland (EI)
Title : Personality and Emotions
Start Date / End Date : 20-FEB-12 / 19-FEB-13
Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : Support of collaboration with the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect at Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (Cornell University)
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-12 / 01-OCT-13
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Economic crisis, value change and psychological well-being
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-12 / 31-OCT-13

Current Postgraduate Students

Zahra Farahani, Master of Literature (MLitt)   -   Thesis Supervisor