Dr Laura Johnson

Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health

Research Group and Institute

  • Psychology of Sport, Exercise & Movement Research Group
  • Sport, Work & Health Research Group


Laura Johnson is a Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health for the Sport Development and Management/Sport Management and Coaching programmes. She also contributes to teaching on the MSc Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health programme.

She joined Edge Hill in 2013 as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and full-time PhD candidate in September 2013. Laura submitted her PhD thesis in August 2016 before being appointed as a Lecturer in September 2016. Prior to this Laura worked as a research assistant on the Fathers’ Engagement Project at Liverpool John Moores University [2012-2013], having completed an MSc in the Psychology of Sport at Liverpool John Moores University [2009-2010] and a BSc (hons) Sport and Exercise Science (psychology) at the same institution [2006-2009].


Laura’s PhD work was based around the impact of family background on health and physical activity within an area of high socioeconomic deprivation and also included the design and delivery of a health-based intervention through Everton in the Community. This work was shortlisted for the Guardian’s University Social and Community Impact Awards 2015. A case study on this research was also one of only a small number of examples selected by the Sport and Recreation Alliance to showcase the positive impacts of sports-based programmes on mental health/well-being nationally. This work is currently being written up as a number of academic papers which will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals over the next few months.

Laura is also involved in a number of new projects including levels of motivation and self-rated mental wellbeing of novice runners and the links between sport, physical activity and mental-wellbeing for children and young people.

External Engagement

Laura’s external engagement activities include:

  • Member of MSP’s Children and Young People Strategic Group (2018-)
  • BASES Accredited Sport & Exercise Scientist/Charted Scientist (CSci) (2016-)
  • Sport & Exercise Science Consultancy, supporting athletes in performance enhancement and wellbeing (2016-)

Selected Publications

  • HOUGHTON, L., and KNOWLES, Z. R., 2017. Improving health behaviours and outcomes: An intervention to support engagement in physical activity. Case studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology. 1(1), pp. 103-114. https://doi.org/10.1123/cssep.2017-0006
  • HOUGHTON, L., WILLIAMS, E, L., JONES, H. S., and PAGE, R. M., 2017. To align or not to align? Research methods and its relationship with dissertation marks across Sport undergraduate degree programmes. Studies in Higher Education. 20, pp.101-109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhlste.2017.04.005
  • SMITH, A., JONES, J., HOUGHTON, L. and DUFFELL, T., 2016. A Political Spectator Sport or Policy Priority? A Review of Sport, Physical Activity and Public Mental Health Policy. International Journal of Sports Policy and Politics. 8(4), pp. 593-607. https://doi.org/10.1080/19406940.2016.1230554
  • HOUGHTON, L. J., O’DWYER, M., FOWEATHER, L., WATSON, P., ALFORD, S. and KNOWLES, Z.R., 2014. An impact and feasibility evaluation of a six-week (nine hour) active play intervention on fathers’ engagement with their preschool children: a feasibility study, Early Child Development and Care. 185(2), pp. 244-266. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2014.919495
  • HOUGHTON, L., O’DWYER, M., FOWEATHER, L., WATSON, P. M., ALFORD, S., and KNOWLES, Z., 2014. Benefits of daddy play. Early Years Educator. 16(7), pp. 28-30.
  • BODDY, L. M., KNOWLES, Z.R., DAVIES, I. G., WARBURTON, G.L, MACKINTOSH, K.A., HOUGHTON, L. and FAIRCLOUGH, S.J., 2012. Using formative research to develop the healthy eating component of the change! school-based curriculum intervention. BMC Public Health. 12, pp. 710-720. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-710