Sport and Exercise Psychology

The Sport and Exercise Psychology Research Group examines everything from the psychology of sporting injuries to healthy ageing in middle age. By cross-examining their own research interests, members of the group have developed a better understanding of issues arising within their disciplines. This collaborative approach has also provided a special insight into members’ individual projects and achievements.

Projects and research interests

For details of the research interests of individual staff please click on their profiles below. Areas of research include:

Sport Psychology

  • Psychology of recovery from sporting injuries (mostly focused on extreme
    sport and activities)
  • Psychology of circus performers (as extreme performers)
  • The development of expertise in sport
  • The psychological effects of practice
  • Gender differences in throwing ability
  • Psychological resilience
  • Psychological factors as mediators of the development and maintenance of expertise in sport
  • Personality and perceptual and motor skills in sport
  • Use and abuse of alcohol in student-athletes.
  • Sport Psychologists’ use of counselling principles and skills to develop practitioner-athlete relationships
  • Evaluation of children’s drawings in a sporting context

Exercise psychology

  • Healthy ageing and exercise behaviours in middle age
  • The efficacy of popular media in encouraging exercise uptake in middle age
  • Theories of health behaviour (e.g. the Theory of Planned Behaviour) applied to exercise
  • Theory-based health behaviour change interventions applied to exercise (e.g. planning and implementation intentions).
  • Use of new technology (e.g. mobile phone apps) to encourage exercise behaviour change
  • The impact of work-life balance, work stress and the workplace environment on exercise

Current PhD Students

Christina Constantinou: 'A Multi-Method Examination of Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL) and Health Behaviours in Children and Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)'

Ange Cumine: 'Physical activity and dyspraxia/dyslexia: Testing and
development of an early diagnosis screening device'

Floyd Williams: 'Factors affecting the acquisition of expertise in sport: an investigation of expert vs non expert tennis players'

Aura Goldman: 'Psychological resilience in sport: an investigation of mediating factors'

Fatemeh Fazelli: 'Physical activity, weight status and fundamental movement skill: actual vs perception in children and parents'

Examples of Funding

  • Wellcome Trust £10,000, Science of Circus: psychology and injuries.
  • London Borough of Haringey £10,000, "Tottenham Active!" project.
  • Saracens RFC £10,000 “Monday Club” project.

Examples of Impact

Dr Cohen is working on a film project highlighting the injuries and psychology in this area as part of a project to develop psychological kit for Circus Art. She is also working with The National Centre for Circus Arts and Perform Health.

Dr Duffy is working with the Professional Darts Corporation supporting players on the PDC Professional Tour, the Saracens Foundation, Reading FC and the Jamega Golf Tour.

Dr Duffy and Dr Baluch are evaluating the Tottenham Active! and Monday Club projects.

Anne Elliot holds the academic seat in Special Populations on the Skills Active council and regularly appears in the press and media.

Research Student Applications and Placements

Students wishing to undertake a PhD or those wanting to gain research assistant experience within any of our research teams should contact the staff directly (contact details available on individual staff profile pages).


For any enquiries please contact Group Chair Dr Linda Duffy by email or telephone on +44 (0)20 8411 5406.

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