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Dynamics of motivation in physical activity and health behaviours

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, March 11, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Physical inactivity is a significant and growing healthcare burden, as such, strategies for effective interventions and initiatives are necessary. A central component of any health behavior is motivation. It is well established that autonomous forms of motivation are associated with greater physical activity participation. However, it is becoming apparent that controlled motivation, specifically, introjected regulation (e.g., exercising for feelings of egotistical pride or to avoid guilt) may serve a role in physical activity adherence.

This is a novel project that addresses key gaps in physical activity research by combining empirical psychological investigation within a bespoke community initiative (BeStrong) using a mixed-method approach which assess motivation over time and explores gender and ethnic variations in the physical activity behavior change process.
The PhD student will assess the effects of introjected motivation effects on physical activity behavior and how people experience motivational change over time across genders and ethnicities. This project also aims to compare delivery mechanisms with an in person and online only membership program.
Findings from this project will help us understand the dynamics of motivation and motivational change that can be used to inform interventions to increase physical activity.

Funding Notes

We are seeking PhD applicants with the skills and enthusiasm to undertake demonstrating with our Sports and Exercise Sciences undergraduate cohorts. The successful candidate will undertake 120-250 hours of teaching per year alongside their PhD research. You should hold (or be expecting) at least a UK upper second class honours, in a relevant discipline and should also have an interest in teaching.
The studentship is open to UK or EU candidates and will provide fees at UK/EU level plus a stipend of £14,777 for 4 years (subject to progress).


Dr. Alison Divine
1. Divine, A., Watson, P.M., Baker, S., & Hall, C. R. (2019). Relatedness Mediates the Relationship between Facebook Use and Exercise Motivation. Computers in Human Behaviour
2. Berry, T. R., Rodgers, W. M., Divine, A., & Hall, C.R. (2018). The relationship of automatically activated associations and explicit exercise motives to exercise adherence over one year. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
3. Milne, M., Divine, A., Hall, C., Gregg, M., & Hardy, J. (2014). Non‐Participation: How Age Influences Inactive Women's Views of Exercise. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 19(3), 171-191.
4. Divine, A., Roberts, R., & Hall, C.R. (2016). Revisiting the exercise imagery and exercise dependence relationship. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16, 191-202 DOI:10.1080/1612197X.2016.1177105
Dr. Shuanna Burke
1. Brunet, J., Taran, S., Burke, S. M., & Sabiston, C. M. (2013). A qualitative exploration of barriers and motivators to maintaining physical activity participation in women treated for breast cancer. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35, 2038-2045.
2. Brunet, J., Burke, S. M., & Sabiston, C. M. (2013). The benefits of being self-determined in promoting physical activity and affective well-being among women recently treated for breast cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 22, 2245-2252.
3. Burke, S. M., Brunet, J., Jack, S., Grocott, M., & West, M. (2015). Exploring the meaning of adhering to a pre-surgical exercise program for patients with advanced rectal cancer: A phenomenological study. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 88-95.
4. Burke, S. M, Wurz, A., Bradshaw, A., Saunders, S., West, M.A., Brunet, J (2017). Physical activity and quality of life in cancer survivors: A meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Cancers, 9(5).

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Leeds in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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