Stirling Physical Activity Research Knowledge and Learning Exchange

Stirling Physical Activity Research Knowledge and Learning Exchange (SPARKLE) takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understand how physical activity can influence physical and mental health and vice versa across a range of age groups, ability levels and settings.

Our main research impact focuses on public engagement with our research and co-creation of policy and practice through interventions with a number of key stakeholders including the general public, charities, policy-making bodies, health services and industry (large and NGOs).

Our projects include the Horizon 2020 funded Physical Activity and Nutrition INfluences In ageing; physical activity interventions in frail older adults; enhancement of dietary education for Type-2 diabetes prevention; and a study on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on engagement, loneliness, wellbeing and physical activity in Scottish older adults.

Featured research

older person in garden

Keep Active Physically and Socially (KAPS)

A research project examining the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity, loneliness and social contact on vulnerable groups, particularly older adults. Data were collected in June-July 2020.

two people looking at phone screen

Stirling 1000 Elders

The Stirling 1000 Elders is a new group dedicated to bringing researchers, students and older adults together to develop, conduct, and discuss research to promote healthy ageing.

Explore more

SPARKLE conducts research with Pathsforall and the Daily Mile Foundation. We also share insights on coaching related subjects and post regularly on physical activity in the actify hub.

group of people exercising outdoors

Contact us

Get in touch with the Stirling Physical Activity Research Knowledge and Learning Exchange research group.

Contact us

Postgraduate research

We offer postgraduate research support in a range of topics. Anna Whittaker supervises students within the broad field of healthy ageing, and specifically in physical activity interventions for frail older adults impacting on psychological and physiological health, and on cardiovascular stress reactivity. Pete Coffee supervises students within the field of social psychology - predominantly informed by the social identity approach - with relevance to sport, exercise, health, and performance settings.

Current PhD students
NameSupervisorTopic
Bridgitte Swales Anna Whittaker, Gemma Ryde Keeping Active in Residential Elderly (KARE): Assessing the feasibility and impact of physical activity in healthy ageing, with a specialised chair-based resistance training intervention, in residential care populations with pre-existing frailty.
Nina Verma Pete Coffee, Anna Whittaker A social identity approach to mental health stigma, identity threat and help seeking intentions in sport.
Len de Nys Anna Whittaker, Gemma Ryde, Jenni Connolly Stress, Healthy ageing & Physical activity (SHAPE).
Esther Ofosu Anna Whittaker, Jenni Connolly, Gemma Ryde Stress, Healthy ageing & Physical activity (SHAPE).
Sally Anderson Kacey Neely, Pete Coffee Parent Burnout in Youth Sport.
Ilaria Pina Angus Hunter  
Ewan Stirling Andy Kirkland, Rob Morris Mental health and wellbeing in the sporting environment, a salutogenic approach. (working title)
Simon Kawycz Pete Coffee, Kacey Neely A social identity approach to actor-observer attributions in sport.
Tom Doncom Pete Coffee, Chris Hartley Social Identity Directed Attribution Retraining (SIDAR) to harness the power of us and cultivate adaptive thinking in sport.
Melanie McInnes Pete Coffee, Emma France A social identity approach to social support in sport.
Emma Saunders Pete Coffee, Niamh Fitzgerald, Hee-jung Hong Dual-careers and social support in third-level institutions in Ireland.

 

Related outputs

Physical Activity Intervention for Loneliness (PAIL) in community-dwelling older adults: a randomised feasibility study

Shvedko, A., Thompson, J.L., Greig, C.A. & Whittaker, A.C. (in press 2020). Physical Activity Intervention for Loneliness (PAIL) in community-dwelling older adults: a randomised feasibility study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 6, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40814-020-00587-0

A Social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Coffee, P., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., & Polman, R. (2017). A Social identity approach to understanding and promoting physical activity. Sports Medicine, 47, 1911-1918. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0720-4

The Daily Mile: What factors are associated with its implementation success?

Ryde GC, Booth JN, Brooks NE, Chesham RA, Moran CN, Gorely T. The Daily Mile: What factors are associated with its implementation success? PLOS ONE. 2018; 13(10): e0204988. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204988

A Canadian-wide perspective on the essential conditions for taking a comprehensive school health approach

Neely, K. C., Montemurro, G. R, & Storey, K. E. (accepted Dec 2, 2020). A Canadian-wide perspective on the essential conditions for taking a comprehensive school health approach. BMC Public Health.

Strengthening the relationship between physical activity and physical self-concept: The moderating effect of controllable attributions

Murray RM, Sabiston CM, Coffee P & Kowalski KC (2021) Strengthening the relationship between physical activity and physical self-concept: The moderating effect of controllable attributions. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 52, Art. No.: 101828. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2020.101828

How can lifelong habits such as physical activity be promoted more effectively? Analysing the post 16 gap via a qualitative analysis

Cowley J, I'Anson J, Mcintosh I, Kiely J & Collins D How can lifelong habits such as physical activity be promoted more effectively? Analysing the post 16 gap via a qualitative analysis. Journal of Qualitative Research in Sports Studies.

Using the theoretical domains framework to explore primary health care practitioner's perspectives and experiences of preconception physical activity guidance and promotion

Sissions A, Grant A, Kirkland A & Currie S (2020) Using the theoretical domains framework to explore primary health care practitioner's perspectives and experiences of preconception physical activity guidance and promotion. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 25 (7), pp. 844-854. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2019.1679846

Physical activity in paid work time for desk-based employees: a qualitative study of employers' and employees' perspectives

Ryde GC, Atkinson P, Stead M, Gorely T & Evans J (2020) Physical activity in paid work time for desk-based employees: a qualitative study of employers' and employees' perspectives. BMC Public Health, 20 (1), Art. No.: 460. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08580-1