Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport



This project takes a predominately qualitative approach to understanding people’s stories of physical activity when living with arthritis. We know that stories can engage our attention, touch as emotionally and drive us to action. Drawing on principles of narrative psychology for health behaviour change, we seek to see whether the stories of a few can change the lives of many. 


  • Specifically, the aims of the project are:
  • To explore the thematic content and narrative structure of individual stories about physical activity with arthritis.
  • Identify core features that contribute to an effective story for health behaviour change.
  • To design an evidence-based health communication tool that uses real-life stories to promote physical activity in a clinical population.
  • To test the efficacy of this tool for physical activity promotion; both in terms of practitioner use within healthcare setting and patient behaviour change.


Anthony Papathomas, PhD. (lead supervisor)

Ian Taylor, PhD. (2nd supervisor)

Emily Hunt, MSc. (lead researcher)

Institutions and organisations

School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

The Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, SSEHS, Loughborough University


School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (School studentship)

Key Milestones

The first research to emanate from this project will be published in summer 2017. Those interested in project updates and early insights should contact Emily (E.R.Hunt@lboro.ac.uk) or Anthony (a.papathomas@lboro.ac.uk) direct.