About the Project
The PhD project will develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of a new intervention programme—Social Identity Directed Attributional Retraining (SIDAR)—designed to help people become adaptive thinkers following negative outcomes (e.g., by drawing on controllable explanations for failure, such as poor strategy). This PhD project would predominantly suit applicants with a background in social psychology, sport and exercise psychology, and/or computer science and IT. In regard to the latter, SIDAR could involve the development of online attributional retraining tools and software by drawing upon computer science and IT skills.
Negative outcomes affect everyone and include, for example, failure in a sport competition or an educational exam, poor organisational productivity, health setbacks such as the diagnosis of diabetes, and excessive stress in the workplace. Attribution theory highlights that how we explain such negative outcomes shapes our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Attributional retraining is an intervention designed to encourage people to develop adaptive (e.g., controllable) rather than maladaptive (e.g., uncontrollable) explanations for negative outcomes, and to subsequently result in more adaptive outcomes (e.g., improved performance). Dr Pete Coffee—the lead supervisor—has spent more than 15 years examining attribution theory, and within the last 10 years the research of Dr Pete Coffee and Dr Chris Hartley has highlighted the relevance of the social identity approach to sport and exercise psychology through emphasising the importance of our social groups to performance, mental health, and support processes. Through this PhD project, we seek to draw on the social identity approach to help people become adaptive thinkers, subsequently resulting in adaptive outcomes such as improved performance, and enhanced confidence and motivation.
As a PhD student at the University of Stirling, you will have access to state-of-the-art sports and research facilities to conduct the research. The University of Stirling is ‘Scotland’s University of Sporting Excellence’ and was crowned by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide as ‘UKs Sports University of the Year’ (2020). The Lawn Tennis Association has a National Academy on the Stirling campus, and the National Swimming Academy, SportScotland, Commonwealth Games Scotland, Scottish Swimming, Triathlon Scotland and the Scottish Football Association Central Area are also located on campus.
The successful candidate should have:
• a 1st or 2:1 degree in a Sport Studies/Sport and Exercise Science subject, or Psychology, or Computing Science and IT (or a cognisant discipline)
• a merit or distinction Master’s degree in Sports and/or Exercise Psychology, or Social Psychology, or Computing Science and IT (or a cognisant discipline)
• level 7 IELTS (minimum of 6.5 in each band) or equivalent for students where English is not their first language
• an interest in sport, social, or organisational psychology
• some experience in quantitative and qualitative methodologies
• ideally some experience of online interventions
The project is self-funded, however the opportunity may occasionally arise for paid tasks relating to teaching and research within the Faculty. Further information relating to fees and funding can be found here: View Website
Coffee, P., Parker, P. C., Murray, R., & Kawycz, S. (in press). Attribution. In S. A. Haslam, K. Fransen, & F. Boen (Eds.), Sport and exercise psychology: The social identity approach. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
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