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Laura Healy

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr. Laura Healy is a Senior Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Psychology. She researches in areas associated with optimal goal pursuit and mental health/well-being across the sport and physical activity spectrum. She has published 14 peer-reviewed papers and has attracted grant funding of around £66k (£47k as PI). Dr. Healy supervises undergraduate and postgraduate research in areas related to sport and exercise psychology, and teaches on the BSc Sport and Exercise Science and Sport Science MRes programmes.

Career overview

Dr Healy joined Nottingham Trent University in September 2017. She has worked in a variety of academic roles. This includes work as a Research Associate, first at Bangor University before working on an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research project at the University of Birmingham. Most recently, she worked as a Lecturer in Sport Coaching Science at Newman University, Birmingham. She successfully defended her Doctorate in Sport Psychology from the University of Birmingham in July 2015, which was funded by the ESRC.

Research areas

Dr Healy is a member of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Group. Her research explores how to optimise goal pursuit in sport and physical activity for individuals and teams. This has included examining how the motivation underpinning goal striving can impact upon the self-regulation of goals and well-being.

Dr Healy also researches in mental health, both in relation to how sport and physical activity can promote mental health recovery, as well as aspects of elite athlete mental health. This research has been conducted in collaboration with community partners and individuals with lived experience of mental illness.

Recently, Dr Healy has researched in areas associated with elite performance environments, including the role of personality in elite coach-athlete relationships, resilience, psychological safety and fear of failure in a national sport governing body, and the experience of release from professional football academics.

Current PhD students:

  • Mr Joe Stanford (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Ms Katie Garstang (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Mr Tom McGlinchey (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Mr Matthew Savage (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Ms Sally Hilton (Nottingham Trent University)
  • Mr Ben Jeffrey (Nottingham Trent University)

Opportunities arise to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD in the areas identified above. Further information may be obtained on the NTU Research Degrees website

External activity

Dr Healy is a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science (BASES). She is on the editorial board for both The Sport Psychologist and International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. Dr. Healy regularly reviews for high-quality peer reviewed journals, such as Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Psychology of Sport & Exercise, Motivation and Emotion and Journal of Sports Sciences.

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being carried out in collaboration with, or funded by:

  • Rethink Mental Illness
  • British University and College Sport (BUCS)
  • The British Academy
  • The English Football Association
  • NTU Sport

Research funding has included:

  • Healy, L. (PI), Benkwitz, A., Sarkar, M., & McVinnie, Z. (2021-2022). An evaluation of Rethink Mental Illness’ Physical Health Navigation Project. Rethink Mental Illness/Mental Health UK. £15,000.
  • Healy, L.C. (PI), Sarkar, M., Benkwitz, A., Karanika-Murray, M., & Nevill, M. (2018-2021). Impact of embedding physical activity into peer support groups. Rethink Mental Illness, £30,000
  • Healy L.C. (PI), Sarkar, M., & Johnston, J.P. (2018-2019). Understanding the "I" and the "team": An examination of both individual and team goal motives in the pursuit of shared goals. British Academy SRG18R1\180233. £2,151.
  • Saward, C. (PI), Sarkar, M., & Healy, L.C. (2021-2022). Understanding BUCS Football Athletes - Motivations and Profiles. British University and College Sport. £10,000.
  • Sarkar, M. (PI), Morris, J., & Healy, L.C. (2019-2023). Psychological safety, fear of failure and resilience in a national sport organisation. The English FA. £6,000.

NTU collaborators

  • Dr Mustafa Sarkar
  • Dr Julie Johnston
  • Dr Chris Saward
  • Dr Ruth Boat
  • Prof Mary Nevill
  • Dr Maria Karanika-Murray
  • Dr Philip Hennis
  • Dr Ruth James
  • Dr Zoe McVinnie
  • Dr Daniele Magistro

External collaborators

  • Dr Adam Benkwitz, Newman University, Birmingham, U.K.
  • Dr Nathan Smith, University of Manchester, U.K.
  • Dr Alison Tinknell-Smith & Dr Desmond McEwan, University of Bath, U.K.
  • Dr Trish Jackman, University of Lincoln, U.K.
  • Prof Nikos Ntoumanis, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
  • Dr Calum Arthur, UK Sport
  • Dr Emma Vickers, Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme


Healy, L.C., Benkwitz, A., McVinnie, Z., Sarkar, M., Islin, M., Brinded, A., Dodge, B., Opacic, S., Swithenbank, Z., Ranasinghe, S., Oliver, J., Karanika-Murray, M., & Nevill, M.E. (2023). Embedding physical activity into community-based peer support groups for those severely affected by mental illness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20, 2291. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20032291

McGlinchey, T.R., Saward, C., Healy, L.C., & Sarkar, M. (2022). “From everything to nothing in a split second”: Elite youth players’ experiences of release from professional football academies. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 4, 941482. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2022.941482

Stanford, J. R., Healy, L.C., Sarkar, M., & Johnston, J.P. (2022). Interpersonal perceptions of personality traits in elite coach-athlete relationships. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 60, 102145. doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2022.102154.

Savage, M.J., Hennis, P.J., Magistro, D., Donaldson, J., Healy, L.C. and James, R.M., 2021. Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic: a longitudinal study showing mental health and movement behaviours are impaired in UK students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (6): 2930.

Hyuk Jeong, Y., Healy, L.C. and McEwan, D., 2021. The application of Goal Setting Theory to goal setting interventions in sport: a systematic review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology10.1080/1750984X.2021.1901298

Savage, M.J., James, R., Magistro, D., Donaldson, J., Healy, L.C., Nevill, M. and Hennis, P.J., 2020. Mental health and movement behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic in UK university students: prospective cohort study. Mental Health and Physical Activity19, 100357. 10.1016/j.mhpa.2020.100357

Healy, L.C., Ntoumanis, N. and Arthur, C.A, (2020). Goal motives and well-being in student athletes: a person-centered approach. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 42, 433-442. 10.1123/jsep.2019-0125

Benkwitz, A. and Healy, L.C. (2019). 'Think football': exploring a football for mental health initiative delivered in the community through the lens of personal and social recovery. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 17, 100292.10.1016/j.mhpa.2019.100292

Benkwitz, A., Morris, M., & Healy, L.C. (2019). An ethnographic study exploring football sessions for medium-secure mental health service-users: utilising the CHIME conceptual framework as an evaluative tool. Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health. 6, 55. 10.1007/s40737-019-00135-x

Healy, L.C., Ntoumanis, N. & Duda, J.L. (2016). Goal motives and multiple-goal striving in sport and academia: A person-centred investigation of goal motives and inter-goal relations. Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport, 19, 1010-1014. 10.1016/j.jsams.2016.03.001

Healy, L.C., Ntoumanis, N., Stewart, B.D. & Duda, J.L. (2015). Predicting subsequent task performance from goal motivation and goal failure. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 926. 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00926

Healy, L.C., Ntoumanis, N., Veldhuijzen van Zanten, J.J.C.S., & Paine, N. (2014). Goal Striving and Well-Being in Sport: The Role of Contextual and Personal Motivation. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 36, 446-459. 10.1123/jsep.2013-0261

Ntoumanis, N., Healy, L.C., Sedikides, C., Duda, J.L., Stewart, B., Smith, A., & Bond, J. (2014). When the going gets tough: The “Why” of goal striving matters. Journal of Personality, 82, 225-236, 10.1111/jopy.12047

Ntoumanis, N., Healy, L.C., Sedikides, C., Smith, A.L., & Duda, J.L. (2014). Self-regulatory responses to unattainable goals: The role of goal motives. Self and Identity, 13, 596-612. 10.1080/15298868.2014.889033

See all of Laura Healy's publications...

Press expertise

  • Goal pursuit in sport, health and exercise
  • Mental health in sport and physical activity
  • Motivation
  • Personality in coach athlete relationships