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Elaine Hargreaves ImageAssociate Professor and Dean
BSc(Hons)(Glasgow) PhD(Wales)
Tel +64 3 479 8941


Elaine Hargreaves (Nee Rose) is very proudly Scottish and joined the School in 2002 after completing her PhD in Exercise Psychology at the University of Wales, Bangor. Elaine is the School's Associate Dean Curriculum and serves as an Associate Editor of the European Journal of Sport Sciences and on the Editorial Board of the Applied Journal of Sport Psychology. She is married to Gareth and has two girls and in practicing what she teaches and researches, will regularly be found being physically active in Dunedin's beautiful outdoors.



Elaine's research speciality is in the psychology of physical activity with a focus on understanding and promoting behaviour change. Her research spans across three main areas:

  1. Applying behaviour change principles in interventions to improve physical activity and other healthy lifestyle behaviours and to explore the psychological mechanisms explaining behaviour change. Current projects include, the Rugby Fans in Training – NZ programme a healthy lifestyle intervention for men based in the professional rugby context funded by the Health Research Council and the development of an intervention to encourage office-based employees to do short bouts of activity after every 30 min of sitting funded by a University of Otago research grant.
  2. The role of affective responses in motivating physical activity behaviour. This work is underpinned by the hypothesis that an individual's past, ongoing and expected affective experiences of physical activity are integral in determining future behavioural decisions. Elaine is particularly interested in how to structure the exercise experience to maximise positive affective responses and understand the psychological mechanisms through which positive affect impacts on behavioural decisions.
  3. Exploring motivation to adopt and maintain physical activity using the framework of Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Recent projects have examined the relationships between autonomous motivation and psychological flexibility and the relationships between need support and autonomous motivation.

Elaine welcomes post-graduate students with an interest in the psychology of physical activity.

Potential students may like to consult the University of Otago scholarships webpage to check eligibility for international and domestic student scholarships.

Postgraduate students

  • Amanda Calder, PhD 2019. The Affect Of Exercise Past, Present, And Future: The Role Of Affective Memory And Affective Forecast In The Affective Response-Physical Activity Behaviour Relation.
  • Matthew Jenkins, PhD 2018. ACTing with Self-Determination: Psychological Flexibility and Motivation for Physical Activity.
  • Kirsty Hayr, MDiet 2018. Perspectives on Integrating Activity Breaks into the Work Day: A Focus Group Study of University of Otago Employees Working in Sedentary Occupations (co-supervisor).
  • Hannah Martin, MDiet 2018. Motivational profiles for eating behaviour and their associations with intuitive eating and body mass index in New Zealand women (co-supervisor).


Martin, H., Stenling, A., Styles, S., & Hargreaves, E. (2024). Motivational profiles for eating and their association with intuitive eating, maladaptive eating, and self-reported health. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) 23rd Annual Meeting. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Woolf, L., Cotter, J., Hargreaves, E., & Vlietstra, L. (2023). Psychological and cardiovascular effects of physical activity indoors and outdoors, a cross-over trial. Journal of Sport & Exercise Science, 7(4), (pp. 129-130). doi: 10.36905/jses.2023.04.01 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Hargreaves, E. A., & Stubbs, C. (2023). Is time really a barrier to regular participation in physical activity, or just an excuse? Journal of Sport & Exercise Science, 7(4), (pp. 93-94). doi: 10.36905/jses.2023.04.01 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Gale, J. T., Peddie, M. C., & Hargreaves, E. (2023). Perceived barriers and facilitators to performing regular activity breaks at home in the evening. Journal of Sport & Exercise Science, 7(4), (pp. 57). doi: 10.36905/jses.2023.04.01 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Stenling, A., Martin, H., & Hargreaves, E. (2023). Factor structure, criterion-related validity, and longitudinal measurement invariance of the Regulation of Eating Behavior Scale (REBS): A bifactor S-1 exploratory structural equation modeling approach. Measurement Instruments for the Social Sciences, 5, e11187. doi: 10.5964/miss.11187 Journal - Research Article

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