• Shore Road, Jordanstown Campus

    BT37 0QB Newtownabbey

    United Kingdom

  • 546 Citations
  • 15 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr. Gavin Breslin is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in the School of Sport, Ulster University, and a member of the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute.

Gavin is a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, a Registered Practitioner of the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has completed the Aspiring Academic Leadership Programme at Ulster and holds a certificate in Leadership and Management. He has also studied Business and Psychology in the USA.

Gavin has published extensively both nationally and  internationally in the area of mental health and well-being in sport, including two books entitled, Sport and Exercise Psychology: Practitioner Case Studies (2016, Wiley-Blackwell) and Mental Health Interventions in Sport: Research Theory and Practice (2019, Routledge). He has led on several systematic reviews on the use of sport and physical activity for promoting mental health, and has designed interventions using psychological behaviour change theory to enhance health and well-being for children and adults in schools, sports clubs and workplace settings.


Gavin is the lead advisor for research underpinning Sport Northern Ireland’s and the Public Health Agencies ‘Wellbeing in Sport Action Plan 2018-2023 for Northern Ireland’. His research underpinned the development of the plan that has impacted governing bodies of sport across Northern Ireland. His work has been cited in international publications as a result.  He has supervised numerous PhD students to completion and managed post-doctoral students during his time at Ulster. He has also lead the largest physical activity and well-being research intervention for over 7000 children from social disadvantage across Ireland (Sport For Life Programme, 2009-2018). His research on mental health and sport in prisons has been cited in reports by the Ministry of Justice, illustrating the impact that sport has in improving mental health in psychologically challenging environments.


Gavin has had several leadership positions, and has been a member of numerous committees internal and external to the university. He was former Head of The School of Sport, Learning and Teaching Coordinator for the School of Sport, MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology Course Director and has led revalidation and accreditation of programmes internally and with the British Psychological Society.

Along with teaching and research responsibilities he has consulted with national and international athletes and teams in sport psychology, he has advised various sport associations on how to develop actions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their organisations. His most recent international project is funded by UEFA that will look at how developing a dual career can enhance player wellbeing during transition out of football.

His passions are his family, music, running marathons and trying to understand the psychology of how humans develop, learn, and reach their optimal potential.


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Research Output

Determining the Efficacy of Mental Health Awareness Interventions in Sport Using a Systematic Review

Shannon, S. & Breslin, G., 27 Jan 2020, In : SAGE Research Methods Cases.. p. 1-11 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Critical reflection and the way forward for mental health in sport

    Breslin, G. & Leavey, G., 2019, Mental Health and Well-being Interventions in Sport.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Effects of a Mental Health Intervention in Athletes: Applying Self-Determination Theory

    Shannon, S., Hannah, D., Haughey, T., Leavey, G., McGeown, C. & Breslin, G., 13 Aug 2019, In : Frontiers in Psychology. 10, AUG, p. 1-11 11 p., 1875.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)

    Every Minute Counts: Patterns and Times of Physical Activity Participation in Children From Socially Disadvantaged Areas in Ireland

    Belton, S., Breslin, G., Shannon, S., o'brien, W., Fitzpatrick, B., Haughey, T., Chambers, F., Powell, D., Mc Cullagh, D. & Brennan, D., 1 May 2019, In : Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 16, 5, p. 333-339 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    12 Downloads (Pure)


    Psychological and Physiological Factors that Affect Success in Ultra-marathoners

    Author: Sutton, J., Jan 2019

    Supervisor: Breslin, G. (Supervisor) & Davison, G. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The Perceived Benefits of Sport Based Interventions on the Psychological Well-being of People in Prison

    Author: Woods, D., May 2018

    Supervisor: Breslin, G. (Supervisor) & Hassan, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis