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Current Issues in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Module titleCurrent Issues in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Module codeSHSM023
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Dr Sam Vine (Lecturer)

Professor Mark Wilson (Lecturer)

Dr Lisa Price (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

For the first 5 weeks of this module you will gain an advanced understanding of the relationship between physical activity and mental health. Areas of study will include mood and anxiety, depression and addiction. You will gain an understanding of the dose-response relationship and will study how evidence for the effects of exercise on mental health is created and how it impacts on parent disciplines of clinical psychology and psychiatry.

The final 6 weeks of this module will provide you with up-to-date information and a critical review of current issues in Sport Psychology, such as visuo-motor control (quiet eye), motor learning and performance under pressure. You will gain an understanding of how research is carried out to understand mechanisms and develop theories relating to these topics; as well as an awareness and understanding of how interventions can be developed to support motor learning and skilful performance.

The module is suitable for students with a wide range of backgrounds, but ideally you should have some understanding (at undergraduate level) of processes involved in behaviour change (particularly physical activity, and the nature of psychological well-being). A wide range of quantitative and qualitative papers are critically considered so a sound background in research methods would also be desirable. Students from disciplines other than sport and exercise science are welcomed, particularly as we will discuss applications to a range of domains (including sport, rehabilitation, paediatric populations, military settings and laparoscopic surgery).

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to give you an opportunity for advanced critical analysis of issues and debate related to sport and exercise psychology.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the topics in both exercise and sport psychology
  • 2. Comprehensively explain the mechanisms underlying the effects of interventions designed to either promote good mental health through exercise, or support skilful performance of motor skills

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Develop a grant proposal
  • 4. Develop an appropriately rationalised and detailed research design
  • 5. Interpret data, elucidate principles and draw detailed theoretical conclusions
  • 6. Critically evaluate current research and apply this to practical applications in applied settings

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Communicate critical reports through oral presentation
  • 8. Learn independently with self-direction and originality
  • 9. Link theory to practice

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction to the module and introduction to physical activity promotion and mental health.
  • Exercise Psychology
    • Depression
    • Depression
    • Anxiety and stress
    • Positive mood states
    • Mechanisms and moderators
  • Sport Psychology
    • Attentional explanations for optimal motor performance (e.g., ‘flow’,  the quiet eye)
    • Performing under pressure (stress, anxiety and appraising threat)
    • Youth development (talent i/d) and game design
    • Research and laboratory skills

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Lectures and small group work
Guided Independent Study67Tutor directed assignments
Guided Independent Study200Preparation for weekly lecturers through reading and ELE tasks


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation10 minutes1-8Written/oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Grant proposal602500 words1-3, 5-8Written
Research proposal402500 words1-2, 4-8Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Grant proposalGrant proposal1-3, 5-8August/September assessment period
Research proposalResearch proposal1-2, 4-8August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Exercise Psychology

  • Cooney GM, Dwan K, Greig CA, Lawlor DA, Rimer J, Waugh FR, McMurdo M, Mead GE. Exercise for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews2013, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD004366. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004366.pub6.
  • Ekkekakis, P. (Ed)(2013). Handbook on Physical Activity and Mental Health. New York; Routledge. 2013.
  • Faulkner, G. and Taylor, A.H. (2009). Promoting physical activity for mental health: A complex intervention? Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2 (1), 1-3.
  • Taylor, A. H. and  Faulkner, G. (2008). Inaugural editorial. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 1, 1-8.

Sport Psychology

  • Land, M.F. (2009). Vision, eye movements, and natural behavior. Visual Neuroscience, 26, 51-62.
  • Vickers, J.N. (2007). Perception, cognition and decision training: The quiet eye in action. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Wilson, M. (2008). From processing efficiency to attentional control: A mechanistic account of the anxiety-performance relationship. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 184-201.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Anxiety, depression, affect, addiction, exercise, sport, skill acquisition, motor learning, quiet eye, visuomotor control, anxiety, stress, mental health, psychological well-being, exercise, clinical psychology, health behaviour change

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date