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Toby Richards

Part-time PhD Student


Project Title: A psychological study of social identity exploring the experience and meaning of social identification of in-home online exercise formats

Supervisory Team:  Dr Sean Figgins, Prof Iain Greenlees, Dr Matthew Slater (Staffordshire University)

Project Summary: My PhD is in the Social Psychology of Exercise, focusing on what participants experience as a result of engagement and participation in, in-home online exercise activities. A growing body of evidence implies that people join, participate and stay involved in exercise groups that reflect who they are.  These group participants share norms, behaviours and potentially meaning, that can lead to the development and maintenance of a (shared) social identity.  Previous studies have shown that social identity related content and leadership can contribute to this identification process.

Research has however, yet to examine, the role of social identification in the context of in-home online exercise formats, where individuals are actively together, but not physically; communicating and interacting digitally either in real-time or via social media.

This study applies a qualitative approach to explore people’s experiences of becoming members of, and belonging to, online physical activity groups that are important to them.

About: Being on a part-time PhD pathway means I live a dual existence across commercial marketing and academia. I work as a Strategy and Planning Director helping brands connect to their consumers through the application of consumer behavioural and attitudinal data.

Academically I hold a BA(Hons) in Leisure Policy and Administration from Brighton University, an MSc in the Sociology of Sport from Leicester University and an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology from the University of East London.

Other department members

Adrian Penrose
Coach Development Officer (Women & Girl's)
Amber Hartigan
Lecturer in Sports Therapy
Bea Pine
Lecturer in Physiotherapy

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