Search type

Manchester Institute of Education

Ola Demkowicz

Previous education / experience

I have eight years’ experience working in early years education and leadership, with a focus on children who have additional emotional and behavioural needs. I completed a BA(Hons) in Early Years with the University of Huddersfield and received The Chancellor’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement by an Undergraduate Student. I studied my MEd in Psychology of Education with The University of Manchester, where I became more interested in research around adolescence and mental health. Alongside my PhD I am a research assistant for HeadStart, a national initiative funded by The Big Lottery that aims to improve mental health and resilience outcomes for disadvantaged young people across England.

Thesis topic

Cumulative risk exposure and protective factors as predictors of emotional symptoms in early adolescent girls.


Research details

I am aiming to identify the risk factors that are associated with emotional symptoms in early adolescent girls. I am examining whether there is evidence of a cumulative risk effect in relation to these symptoms and will be exploring whether perceived stress mediates this relationship, thus providing an empirical test of the allostatic load hypothesis in cumulative risk theory.

I am also aiming to identify the protective factors that are associated with emotional symptoms for girls during this developmental stage and whether there is a cumulative effect of multiple protective factors. Furthermore, I will be investigating whether access to protective factors moderates the relationship between cumulative risk exposure and emotional symptoms.

In order to address these aims, I will be undertaking mixed methods research. Specifically, I will use multilevel modelling and structural equation modelling to examine the associations and relationships between risk factors, protective factors and emotional symptoms. I will be using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore how early adolescent girls experience and make sense of these areas of their lives

Research interests

  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Cumulative risk exposure
  • Resilience
  • Preventive interventions.

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