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Matthew Jenkins 186Senior Research Fellow

Contact details


Twitter @Dr_MattJenkins


  • BSc Psychology (University of Birmingham, 2002–2005)
  • MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology (Staffordshire University, 2010–2012)
  • PhD Physical Education – Applied Exercise Psychology (University of Otago, 2014–2017)

Research interests

  • Health promotion within communities experiencing mental illness
  • Health service user experiences and co-design
  • The intersection between physical activity and holistic health
  • Nature connection and mental health
  • Motivational theory (Self-Determination Theory; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
  • Mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Qualitative and quantitative methodologies

Examples of current projects

Co-design project: Supporting the health and wellbeing of rangatahi living with psychosis

Matthew is currently leading a co-design project that investigate the health and wellbeing of rangatahi experiencing early psychosis, funded by an Otago Health Sciences Fellowship and a Lotteries Health Research grants.

This included collaborations with Toi Tangata and the League of Live Illustrators. Outputs of this project to date include a protocol research paper, a feature on the podcast One in Four, and two images commissioned by the League of Live Illustrators: Lived Experience of rangatahi and Navigating the Puna.

Lived Experience of rangatahi image (PDF)

Navigating the Puna image (PDF)

Toi Tangata

League of Live Illustrators

Protocol research paper: Developing a system of health support for young people experiencing first episode psychosis

One in Four podcast

This is an ongoing research stream, and Matthew invites any potential collaborators or students to contact him if interested in this project.

UNILIFE-M project

Matthew leads the Aotearoa arm of an international research project spanning 30+ countries, which focuses on the relationship between lifestyle behaviours and student mental health.

More information on the UNILIFE-M project

Research communication

Matthew is passionate about disseminating research so that it creates impact. He produces and hosts an Otago-funded radio show and podcast called One in Four, which can be heard online and on Spotify. He has also written various media commentaries for outlets such as The Conversation and Otago Daily Times. Matthew is also a member of the Working Group for Research Impact within the Division of Health Sciences.

One in Four podcast

One in Four – Spotify

The Conversation articles

Otago Daily Times articles

Community engagement

Matthew is also passionate about creating community partnerships. He recently led the research project 'Moving in the Margins' in which his team investigated the role of physical activity subsidies offered by Wellington City Mission. Outputs for this project include a poster presentation and a research paper by student Ella Creagh.

Moving in the Margins - the role of physical activity subsidies offered by Wellington City Mission (PDF)

Ella Creagh research paper – Moving in the margins: A qualitative study into the role of physical activity in marginalised communities (PDF)

Matthew also created the community event 'Mahi Tahi', which brought together physical activity promoters from across Wellington to learn about taonga tākaro from youth educator Wiremu Sarich (Te Rarawa). This resulted in Special interest group for community (please email Matthew directly if you would like to be involved with this).

Read more about the community event 'Mahi Tahi'

Early career support

Matthew supports early career researchers from his position as a member of the Division of Health Sciences Early-to-Mid career management committee, and is the acting Postgraduate Co-ordinator for the Department of Psychological Medicine, Wellington. He is interested in supervising Masters or PhD students whose research areas align with those outlined above.

Division of Health Sciences Early-to-Mid career management committee


Jenkins, M., Wilson, O. W. A., Richards, J., Huthwaite, M., Skirrow, P., Grant, E., & Every-Palmer, S. (2023). The association between motivation and physical activity among forensic and rehabilitation inpatients in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of Sport & Exercise Science, 7(2), 9-17. doi: 10.36905/jses.2023.02.02

Jenkins, M., Gardiner, T., Pekepo, C., Ramritu, P., Drysdale, B., Every-Palmer, S., & Chinn, V. (2023). Developing a system of health support for young people experiencing first-episode psychosis: Protocol for a co-design process. JMIR Research Protocols, 12, e44980. doi: 10.2196/44980

Every-Palmer, S., Grant, M. L., Thabrew, H., Hansby, O., Lawrence, M., Jenkins, M., & Romans, S. (2023). Not heading in the right direction: Five hundred psychiatrists’ views on resourcing, demand, and workforce across New Zealand mental health services. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/00048674231170572

Creagh, E., Jenkins, M., Huthwaite, M., & Skirrow, P. (2023). Moving in the margins: A qualitative study into the role of physical activity in marginalised communities. Journal of Sport & Exercise Science, 7(1), 35-43. doi: 10.36905/jses.2023.01.05

Perry, M. A., Jones, B., Jenkins, M., Devan, H., Neill, A., & Ingham, T. (2023). Health system factors affecting the experience of non-invasive ventilation provision of people with neuromuscular disorders in New Zealand. International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 20, 4758. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20064758

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