Life-style, Recreation, Exercise: Psychological Effects of Physical Activity



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

The purpose of this course is to examine in depth the key scholastic concepts in the joint fields of physical activity, exercise and mental health as a prelude to a more extensive personallyoriented research project in an area of interest of the student. The main topic, and a possibly wider research orientation within it – that could be either theoretically or experimentally approached -, includes the effects of regular exercise on various indices and / or determinants of mental health. For example, the PhD student can perform a literature review – systematic or meta analysis – on the effects of running on borderline depression, or on the psychological effects of specific sports (i.e., body building, martial arts, dance, etc.) on a specific mental condition, like mood, depression, cognition and the like. Alternately, the student can carry out a research project comprising data collection, that can be correlational and / or cross-sectional, survey or interview based, paper and pencil format or online (Internet), providing that she or he obtains formal ethical clearance from the Faculty’s Research Ethics Committee. The application for ethical permission in English can be obtained from here: permission_201511181.docx
The research project should involve a relatively short data-collection period (i. e., not exceeding 4 weeks) to enable the student to analyze the data and the write up the research report within one half of academic year. Please note that this is a practical course that requires substantial individual and directed work. The formal tuition is based on individual or group consultations, depending on the number of students involved. In the latter case, every student’s research project will be jointly discussed and the views and opinions of the other – along with that of the course facilitator (Lecturer) – may be taken into consideration for realizing a state of the art report, which may be even considered for submission for publication. The tutor will assist all those students who wish to submit their work for publication, given that the work meets the minimum requirement for publication in a scholastic and peer-reviewed journal. Under all the circumstances the student will be the first author of such publication(s) and depending on the input of the tutor (in this case who becomes a supervisor and / or consultant too), he or she may become second author. If more people are involved (i. e., another fellow student, researcher or tutor) the order of authorship will be determined on the basis of the international rules and regulations of authorship formation, with the candidate student retaining the unquestionable and guaranteed right for the first authorship in all instances, unless she / he renounces to this right, because of unwillingness, or inability, to carry out the major work in relation to the drafting of the manuscript or any other aspects (i. e. data analyses, et.). While there are no specific pre-assigned or pre-requisite readings in the course, substantial compulsory readings will surface during the choice of the specific topic to be examined by the individual students. Consequently, while some general references may be useful, and are provided in the reading list below, the actual readings will be suited to the individual needs of the students taking the course. Grading will be based on a) the depth of the knowledge acquired (and critically evaluated) in the specific area selected by the student, b) the industriousness and independent work showed by the student, and c) by the quality of the report produced for the end of the course.

  • Biddle, S. J., & Mutrie, N. (2007). Psychology of physical activity: Determinants, well-being and interventions. London: Taylor & Francis ISBN-10: 0 203 019326 (online access)
  • Hagger, M., & Chatzisarantis, N. (2005). The social psychology of exercise and sport.
    Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill ISBN 0 335 21618
    8 (online access)
  • Jarvis, M. (1999). Sport Psychology. Routledge Modular Psychology. London: Routledge (online access)