The Legacy Of The Troubles Project

Mental Health and Attitudes to Reconciliation

A Cross –Border Collaborative research project being undertaken by The School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast & The Department of Applied Psychology, University College Cork.

Funding from the EU prgramme for Peace and Reconciliation is gratefully acknowledged.

About the Project

Final Report Published

The Legacy of the Troubles final report has been published.

What is 'the legacy of the troubles project'?

The project is a unique and ground breaking study of the effects of violent experience on psychological health and societal well-being. In keeping with the objectives of Peace II, the study examines psychological health and direct and indirect experience of the troubles as well as people's beliefs about their national and political identities. A final strand of the study will look at the effects the troubles has had on social attitudes, such as cross-community relations and wariness of people from other religious or ethnic groups. To date, a proper concern for physical and psychological casualties has resulted in a failure to explore the effects that the conflict might have had on political and social attitudes. Now however, it is timely to consider the legacy of conflict experiences in terms of peace and reconciliation as well as in terms of mental and physical health.

Who is going to provide the information for the study?

As this study involves a telephone survey, only those with telephones can be selected into the sample. Telephone numbers will be picked at random, so selection into the sample is based on chance. You could also call this luck, so if your are selected into the sample perhaps its time to enter a prize draw! Only one person living in each household will be asked to participate in the research. The person with the most recent birthday will be asked to participate (rather than the person who answers the phone), this avoids any bias in our sample. Participants must be over 18. We hope to be able to conduct a study of young people in the future.

What kinds of questions will be asked of participants in the study?

Participants will be asked a large range of questions during the interview. They will be asked about their current health, their experience over the course of the troubles, their views and beliefs regarding their nationality, their recent voting behaviour and their attitudes to others.

If I agree to Participate in the study what will happen to the information I give?

Your information along with the information obtained from 2,999 other participants will be looked after very carefully. We can give you several assurances about this.

  1. First, your information will be anonymous. Your name will not be attached to it. Indeed you never need to provide us with your name. Your telephone number will be replaced by a code number which means that this information will not be attached to the details you provide us either.
  2. The information you provide us with will be covered under the Data Protection Act.
  3. The researchers undertaking this project are Chartered Psychologists with the British Psychological Society and Full members of the Psychological Society of Ireland. As such we are bound by a strict code of ethics. Your participation in the study must be entirely voluntary, we must treat all data as highly confidential.
  4. Only the researchers (Drs. Orla Muldoon , Karen Trew and John Kremer at QUB and Dr John Horgan and Prof Max Taylor at UCC) involved in the project and the two research students ( Ciara Downes and Katharina Schmid ) working on the project will have access to the data set. You can contact these researchers at any time or the project office at any time if you have any queries.
  5. The data will probably be archived in the future - it must be emphasised that no information will be able to identify individuals on this database.

What will the results of the legacy of the troubles project tell us?

The project will tell us:

  1. the extent of conflict experiences in a representative sample of people living in Northern Ireland and the border regions of the Republic.
  2. the relationship between this experience and reported levels of psychological well-being in this representative sample
  3. if experience of conflict is related to strength of national or political identity
  4. the effects that experience of the conflict and identity together may have on social attitudes related to peace and reconciliation.

What is a representative sample and why is it important?

A representative sample is a sample that is drawn from the entire population so that is is typical of the entire population. Social researchers emphasise the importance of representative samples as it allows researchers to say that their results can apply to the population as a whole.

What will we do with the information obtained from the research?

The research will permit the wider public to understand the extent to which those living in Northern Ireland and the border regions that have been affected by the conflict. We will publicise out findings through the media, in academic journals and at work shops for mental health and community relations practitioners.

Where should I go if I would like more information?

The principal investigator in Queen's is Dr. Orla Muldoon . She can be contacted at The principal investigator at UCC is John Horgan, he can be contacted at

The project also has an office located in the School of Psychology , at Queen's University. Alison Jeffrey , the project secretary may also be assistance. She can be contacted at or by telephone at 028 90274581 (from Northern Ireland ) or 048 904581 (from the Republic of Ireland ).

The project's postal address is:

The Legacy of the Trouble's Project
School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland

©2004 The Legacy Of The Troubles Project