Goal setting

Physical activity for health Behaviour & behaviour change

Understanding why people participate in physical activity or sedentary behaviour is critical to the development of effective behaviour change interventions. Relatively little is known about changes in physical activity and sedentary behaviour over the life course, such as why people become less active as they get older.

Our research aims to increase knowledge and understanding in these areas. Several of our staff conduct research within this area. Areas of expertise are:

  • Physical activity & sedentary behaviour in children and adolescents - Professor J Reilly
  • Promoting active commuting to school and within school - Dr D Rowe
  • Physical activity & sedentary behaviour in adolescent girls - Dr AM Knowles
  • Physical activity engagement in physical education - S Forsyth
  • Behaviour change interventions for new mums - Dr A Hughes
  • Physical activity & sedentary behaviour in diabetes care - Dr A Kirk
  • Physical activity in individuals with physical disability - S Dean
  • Behaviour change interventions with vulnerable populations - Dr F Mitchell

Recent projects & publications

Our staff have been working on a number of projects and have contributed to many different recent publications.

  • Rowe D (2012). Physical Activity Participation in Fife Schoolchildren: Research report of current levels, modes, contexts, preferences and determinants
  • Matthews L, Kirk A, Mutrie N. Can physical activity interventions for adults with type 2 diabetes be translated into practice settings? A systematic review using the RE-AIM framework. Translational Behavioural Medicine 2014; 4:60-78.
  • MacMillan F, Kirk A, Mutrie N. A systematic review of physical activity and sedentary behaviour intervention studies in youth with Type 1 diabetes: Study characteristics, intervention design, and efficacy. Pediatric Diabetes 2013; 15:175-189.
  • Fawkner, S. G., Niven, A., Nevill, A., Knowles, A. M. & Henretty, J. (2014). The influence of maturation, body size and physical self-perceptions on longitudinal changes in physical activity in adolescent girls. Journal of Sport Sciences, 32(4), 392-401
  • Knowles, A. M., Fawkner, S. G. & Niven, A. G. (2013). ‘Once upon a time I used to be active’. Adopting a narrative approach to understanding physical activity behaviour in adolescent girls. Qualitative Research in Sport, Health and Exercise, 6(1), 62-76.
  • AS Gilinsky, H Dale, C Robinson, AR Hughes, R McInnes, D Lavallee (2014). Efficacy of physical activity interventions in post-natal populations: systematic review, meta-analysis and content coding of behaviour change techniques. Health Psychology Review DOI:10.1080/17437199.2014.899059
  • Gilinsky AS, Hughes AR, McInnes RJ (2012) More Active Mums in Stirling (MAMMiS): a physical activity intervention for postnatal women. Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials 13 DOI 10.1186/1745-6215-13-112
  • McMinn, David, Rowe, David A., Murtagh, Shemane and Nelson, Norah M.(2011) The Strathclyde Evaluation of Children's Active Travel (SE-CAT): study rationale and methods BMC Public Health, 11 (958
  • D McMinn, DA Rowe, S Murtagh, NM Nelson (2012). The effect of a school-based active commuting intervention on children's commuting physical activity and daily physical activity. Preventive Medicine 54 (5), 316-318

Recent external research grant funding

We've received a number of grants for research projects including:

  • Excessive sitting, in prolonged bouts, in children and adolescents: developing a sound evidence base for future interventions. Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (2014-2016; £220, 991). Reilly (PI)
  • Patterns of physical activity levels in patients with bronchiectasis. Cross sectional study using quantitative methods. Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke (2012-2014; £52,000) Kirk (Co applicant)
  • Qualitative study of the experiences of postnatal women participating in the More Active MuMs in Stirling (MAMMiS) trial. Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (2011-2012, £43,000). Hughes (PI)
  • Physical activity in Fife school children – cluster-specific patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Fife local government/National Health Service of Scotland (2009-2011, £30,000) Rowe (PI)
  • Physical activity and sedentary behaviour intervention for youth with Type 1 diabetes: Determining the best approach. Scottish Funding council studentship 2010 to 2013 Kirk (PI)
  • Implementation of physical activity services for the management of adults with Type 2 Diabetes. University of Strathclyde funded studentship 2010 to 2013 Kirk (PI)
  • A multi-disciplinary evaluation of Travelling Green – a primary school resource for encouraging active commuting to school. University of Strathclyde funded studentship 2008 to 2011 Rowe (PI)
  • Randomised controlled trial examining the effect of physical activity consultations and group pram walking among postnatal women: the More Active MuMs in Stirling (MAMMiS) trial. University of Stirling PhD studentship  2010-2014 Hughes (PI)
  • Evaluation of the impact of Girls on the Move (GOTM) national programme. Funded by Youth Scotland, The Robertson Trust and Scottish Government (2009-2011, £23,592) Hughes (Co applicant)