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Personal profile


Dr Victoria Warburton is an Associate Professor in Psychology of Physical Education and Sport. She joined EDU in 2008 following the completion of her PhD in Sport & Exercise Psychology at Loughborough University and she is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. 

Her primary research focus is on understanding the dynamics of motivation through examining its antecedents, consequences, and development. Her research focuses on the fundamental processes that drive human behaviour primarily in physical education, sport, and health contexts. She has published widely on aspects such as implicit theories of ability (mindsets), achievement goals, and psychological needs. Her work examines both indivdiual differences and contextual influences on motivation.  

Victoria’s research has been published in international journals and she has presented her work at both national and international conferences. She reviews for a number of leading journals across both the sport and educational psychology areas. She is an Editorial Board member of the Asia Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. From 2012-2015 she was a member of the steering committee of the Theories of Motivation Special Interest Group (ISBNPA) 2012-2015. She is currently collaborating on a number of projects with colleagues in EDU and from Loughborough University.

Since joining EDU Victoria has served as the Course Director  for the undergraduate physical education programmes (2009-2016) and has taught and supervised students on undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and doctoral programmes. She has been the Academic Link for Easton and Otley College sports coaching programmes (2012-2021), and Group Lead of the Sport, Health and Education Research Group (2012-2020). She is currently EDU's Workload Allocation Co-ordinator and Chair of EDUs Research Ethics Committee.   

Teaching Interests

Since joining the School of Education and Lifelong Learning Victoria has taught on the Bsc Physical Education, Sport, and Health, BA Education and MA Educational Research and Practice degree programmes.

Her main teaching interest lies in the area of Sport and Exercise Psychology. During her time here she has been module leader for Sport and Exercise Psychology (year one), Psychology of Physical Activity and Health (year two), Psychology of Physical Education (year 3) and Motivation in Education (year 3) modules. She also provides quantitative support for modules in the undergraduate programme and for the MA Educational Research and Practice and EdD programmes and supervises undergraduate, masters dissertations and doctoral theses.


Key Research Interests

Dr Warburton’s research interests are focused on understanding the dynamics of motivation, primarily in sport and physical education and health contexts. In pursuing this research area she draws on a range of perspectives from both social and developmental psychology. Key theoretical interests lie in Achievement Goal Theory, Self-Theories of Ability (Mindsets), and Self-Determination Theory.

Victoria’s research has examined changes in students’ motivation across the transition from primary to secondary school, during Key Stage 3 and also within specific activities in the physical education curriculum. She has explored the influence of changes in students’ perceptions of competence, implicit theories of ability, and perceptions of the teacher and peer climate on motivation, well-being, learning and achievement. Recent publications have also included exploring motivation as an antecedent of implicit theories (mindsets) and children's understanding of health and being healthy.

Victoria's expertise in longitudinal research and and data analysis provide the foundation for her current research interests, which include, the contextual cues that influence shifts in implicit theories (mindsets), the developmental aspects of motivation (implicit theories of ability, goals, needs), the antecedents of and the effects of changes in motivation (implicit theories, goals, needs).

Victoria would be keen to hear from potential students who would be interested in pursuing research on motivational factors in sport, health, or education - e.g., MRes (Social Science in Research Methods), PhD and EdD students.

Her own research has been funded by the British Academy and she has collaborated on projects funded by Sport England. Victoria has also completed research consultancy for Active Norfolk for a project funded by Sport England examining the effective strategies for recruiting individuals into sport.

Victoria has also led other projects related to the psychology of physical education, sport, health and education. These include, the validation of a measure of teacher-student relationship quality in physical education and maths (with colleagues in EDU, Loughborough University, and University of Roehampton). This project also explored the effects of teacher-student relationship quality on teachers’ and students’ motivation and well-being. Current projects also include exploring children's understanding of health and being healthy and its effects on children's value and motivation for physical education and school and the association between physical activity, sleep, and sedentary behaviour in relation to educational outcomes. 

Victoria’s methodological expertise lies within the quantitative field, particularly longitudinal research design and data analysis, including multi-level modelling, structural equation modelling, and individual-change analyses. She also has expertise in person-centred approaches to analysis. 

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or