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Julie Johnston

Julie Johnston

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Julie Johnston is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology and teaches across the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Julie is Module Leader for Year 2 Practical Applications in Sport and Exercise Psychology in addition to contributing to several other modules across the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum.

In addition, Dr Johnston actively researches a range of issues related to the factors influencing psychosocial development, health and wellbeing within young people as part of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) research group.

Career overview

Dr Johnston joined the Sport Science Academic Team at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in August 2015 as a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in August 2020.

Prior to taking up the role at NTU, Dr Johnston obtained a BSc in Physical Education and Sport Science and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology, both from Loughborough University, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. In 2014, Julie gained her PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology, which investigated the role of coaches and parents in psychosocial development, also from Loughborough University.

Before moving into an academic role, Julie worked in a variety of positions including as a Research Officer at the Council for Curriculum, Education and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland, as a clinical conduct associate at clinical research organisation Celerion and as a post-doctoral researcher at Loughborough University. Dr Johnston regularly consults for Swim England delivering coach, athlete and parent education in the area of sport performance and mental skills.

Outside of academia, Dr Johnston is a keen sportswoman. She competed on the international swimming arena for Ireland and Northern Ireland for ten years, participating in three Commonwealth Games, three World Championships, three World University Games and a number of European Championships and smaller series.

Research areas

Dr Johnston is a member of the  .  

Her research focuses on behavioural, social and environmental influences on children and adolescent psychosocial development, health and wellbeing. Both her PhD and current research has focused on developing an understanding of coach and parenting roles within sport and the impact of these roles on young athletes' psychosocial development, health and wellbeing.

With a focus on coach and parenting styles and the associated provision of social support, the research seeks to understand coach and parent behaviours that should be encouraged within organised sport environments. With a highly applied element to her work, Dr Johnston regularly disseminates these research findings through applied consultancy and coach and parent education workshops through both national sporting bodies and local clubs.

Dr Johnston is passionate about all research related to young people and improving their social, educational and sporting experiences.

Current PhD students:

  • Ms Emily Dargue (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Mr Benjamin Ashdown (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Ms Elise Sibbick (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Mr Joseph Stanford (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Mr Devesh Patel (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Mr Benjamin Jeffery (Nottingham Trent University)

Previous PhD students:

  • Dr Kirsten Fasey (Nottingham Trent University)

External activity

Dr Johnston is a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science (BASES). She is also a reviewer for a number of peer reviewed journals including Athletic Insight , Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology , and Journal of Sport Psychology in Action .

Dr Johnston regularly consults for Swim England.

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being conducted with the collaboration of:

  • Dr Chris Wagstaff (University of Portsmouth, UK)
  • Dr Ross Roberts (Bangor University, UK)
  • Dr Sarah Mallinson-Howard (York St John University, UK)
  • Dr Katrien Fransen (University of Leuven, Belgium)
  • Professor Chris Harwood (Loughborough University, UK)
  • Professor Camilla Knight (Swansea University, UK)
  • Professor Dan Gould (Michigan State University, USA)

Over the last four years, Dr Johnston has secured over £20,000 in external research funding. Research funding includes:

  • The effects of perfectionistic climate on perfectionism, resilience, fear of failure, and psychological wellbeing in youth athletes. M Sarkar, E Dargue, J Johnston, and S Mallinson-Howard, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (2022), $4,200
  • How to help coaches meet the psychosocial skill needs of their Generation Z athletes: A season long investigation in swimming. J Johnston, J Stanford, C Saward, M Sarkar, C Harwood, and D Gould, International Olympic Committee (2021), $19,750
  • Understanding the "I" and the "team": An examination of both individual and team goal motives in the pursuit of shared goals. L Healy, M Sarkar, and J JohnstonBritish Academy (2018), £2,625


Dr Johnston has also published under the name of Douglas:

Fasey, K. J., Sarkar, M., Wagstaff, C. R., & Johnston, J. (2022). Understanding organizational resilience in elite sport: An exploration of psychosocial processes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise62, 102236.

Camp, N., Johnston, J., Lewis, M., Zecca, M., Di Nuovo, A., Hunter, K., Magistro, D. (2022). Perceptions of in-home monitoring technology for activities of daily living: Semi-structured interview study with community-dwelling older adults. JMIR Aging. 25/03/2022:33714

Stanford, J. R., Healy, L. C., Sarkar, M., & Johnston, J. P. (2022). Interpersonal perceptions of personality traits in elite coach-athlete dyads. Psychology of Sport and Exercise60, 102154.

Fasey, K. J., Sarkar, M., Wagstaff, C. R., & Johnston, J. (2021). Defining and characterizing organizational resilience in elite sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise52,

Jackman, P. C., Dargue, E. J., Johnston, J. P., & Hawkins, R. M. (2020). Flow in youth sport, physical activity, and physical education: A systematic review. Psychology of Sport and Exercise,

Tidmarsh, G., Kinnafick, F.E., & Johnston, J. (2020). The role of the motivational climate in female engagement in secondary school Physical Education: A dual study investigation. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health,

Camp, N.; Lewis, M.; Hunter, K.; Johnston, J.; Zecca, M.; Di Nuovo, A.; Magistro, D. (2020). Technology Used to Recognize Activities of Daily Living in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 163. https://

Pearson, N., Biddle, S. J., Griffiths, P., Johnston, J. P., & Haycraft, E. (2018). Clustering and correlates of screen-time and eating behaviours among young children. BMC public health, 18(1), 753.

Routen, A. C., Johnston, J. P., Glazebrook, C., & Sherar, L. B. (2018). Teacher perceptions on the delivery and implementation of movement integration strategies: The CLASS PAL (Physically Active Learning) Programme. International Journal of Educational Research, 88, 48-59.

Johnston, M., Johnston, J., Cook, C.J., Drake, D., Costley, L., Killgallon, M., & Kilduff, L. (2017). The effect of session order on the physiological, neuromuscular, and endocrine responses to maximal speed and weight training.  Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20, 502-506.

Pearson, N., Griffiths, P., Biddle, S.J.H., Johnston, J.P., & Haycraft, E. (2017). Individual, behavioural, and home environmental factors associated with eating behaviours in young adolescents. Appetite, 112, 35-43.

Pearson, N., Griffiths, P., Biddle, S.J.H., Johnston, J.P., McGeorge, S., & Haycraft, E. (2017). Clustering and correlates of screen-time and eating behaviours among young adolescents. BMC Public Health, 17, 533.

Pearson, N., Haycraft, E., Johnston, J.P., & Atkins, A.J. (2017). Sedentary behaviour across the primary-secondary school transition: A systematic review. Preventative Medicine, 94, 40-47.

Johnston, M., Cook, C., Drake, D., Costley, L., Johnston, J.P., & Kilduff, L. (2016). The neuromuscular, biochemical, and endocrine responses to a single-session vs. double-session training day in elite athletes.  Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30 (11), 3098-3106.

Harwood, C.G., & Johnston, J.P. (2016). Positive youth development and talent development: Is there a best of both worlds?. In N.L. Holt (Ed.) Positive youth development through sport (2nd Ed.). New York: Routledge.

Johnston, J.P., & Harwood, C.G. (2015). Positive youth development in sport: Enacting the roles of coaches and parents. In P. Davis (Ed.) The psychology of effective coaching and management. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers Inc.

Johnston, J.P., Harwood, C.G., & Minniti, A.M. (2013). Positive youth development in swimming: Clarification and consensus of key psychosocial assets. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 25, 392-411.

Harwood, C.G., Douglas, J.P., & Minniti, A.M. (2012). The role of the family in talent development. In S. Murphy (Ed.), Handbook on sport and performance psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

See all of Julie Johnston's publications...

Press expertise

Psychosocial development in GenZ athletes

Course(s) I teach on