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Personal profile


Upon the completion of my PhD in 2015, I joined the School of Health and Life Sciences as a Lecturer in the psychology of sport and physical activity. My main research interests currently focus on the psychological determinants of physical activity behaviour in children and adolescents, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in school, parental influence on children's the physical activity and effective school and home-based health interventions.

Over the past four years, I have conducted and supervised research conducted with numerous schools, children and parents across Lanarkshire. I have worked closely with NHS Lanarksire and educational stakeholders to reveal valuable recommendations and promising interventions to increase children's physical activity and improve parental involvement in such activities.

I also conduct psychological research within sport contexts to investigate athlete and coach use of psychological skills, the nature of decision making under pressure and sport coaching within disadvantaged populations.


Current research activities

Research Expertise:

Experienced in school-based intervention design and development/co-creation with key stakeholders (e.g., schools, teachers and children) and has expertise in mulitple approaches to qualitative inquiry and intervention evaluation.

Experienced in the objective measurement of phsyical activity using accelerometers and actipal devices.

Experienced in statistical analyses of quantitative data: familiar with SPSS, PROCESS, MPLUS, can conduct measurement validation using factor analyses, mediation, moderation and multi-level analyses.

Current Postgraduate Research Projects:  

PhD studentship (Gillian McClellan): The effects of a school-based lifestyle interventions upon indicators of physical and psychological well-being in youth. Funded by UWS and NHS Lanarkshire.

PhD studentship (Kim Ludwig): The development and evaluation of a mobile health intervention to deliver automated text-messaging to promote healthy behaviours in adolescents. Funded by UWS and NHS Lanarkshire.

PhD studentship (Jordan Donnelly): Coaching for life skill development in socio-economically disadvantaged individuals. Funded by UWS and Street Soccer.

PhD Studentship (Gary Mcewan): Psycho-physiological approaches to referee development. Funded by UWS and Scottish Football Association.

Other Current research projects: 

Evaluation of the school-based health intervention 'the daily mile'.

Children's dietary knowledge assessment: measurement development and validation.

The impact of walking football on psychological well-being.

A psycho-biological investigation of self-regulation in high intensity exercise. 

Coach behaviour change and processes of effective coach education delivery; increasing the coaching of psychological skills

Research Funding Awarded: 

£79,000: NHS Lanarkshire PHD studentships: Investigations into child healthy weight initiatives (Co-investigator).

£18,000: Scottish Football Association PHD studentship: Psycho-physiological approaches to referee development (Principal Investigator).

£10,000: A pilot study to investigate the impact of Walking Football on Health and Wellbeing' on behalf of the charity, Paths for All (Co-investigator)

£3,000: A cultural investigation for British Rowing on behalf of UK Sport and British Rowing (Principal Investigator).

Completed Post-graduate research projects: 

PhD Studentship: (Samantha Donnelly, 2020) Exploring the influence of parents, socio-economic status and healthy homework on children's activity and Body Mass Index. Examined by Dr Samantha Fawkner (Edinurgh University) 

PhD Studentship: (Vista Beasley, 2018) Application of Social Identity Approach to the Study of Mental Toughness and Overuse injury in Physical Activity. Examined by Dr Ross Wadey (St Mary's University)

MRes Studentship (Samantha Donnelly 2015-2017) Improving school-based health interventions and activities; qualitative investigations with teachers and parents. Examined by Dr Fiona Muirhead (Strathclyde University)

Desired research direction

To establish PHERC (Pediatric Health and Exercise Research Centre) as a leading force within obesity prevention and progress a systemic approach to childhood health interventions. 

To develop of a more refined understanding of the nature and impact of psychological strategies during exercise and athletic performance by taking a psych-biological approach to investigation. 

To generate further understanding of professional behaviour change within sport and how coach education can be optimised. 

Target collaborative organisations


Education Scotland

Sport Scotland

Glasgow Science Centre

Sport Coach UK

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

 Intervention and programme evaluation (both statistical and qualitative analysis)


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