The overall aim of my research is to explore the transitions between hospital and home/community care, examining how to build the motivational foundations so that adherence to rehabilitation transfers more widely into community settings.

Rehabilitation following stroke comprises a significant societal and public health challenge. However, effective and successful rehabilitation programmes have the chance to decrease related morbidity, mortality, and secondary strokes.

For rehabilitation programmes to be effective, stroke survivors need to adhere to them. However, based on existing research, adherence has been found to be challenging within this population, particularly, when stroke survivors transition from hospital to home/community rehabilitation.

Research with impact

My research aims to build bridges between current rehabilitation delivery and contemporary understanding of exercise and motivation science to facilitate adherence to rehabilitation programmes.

A better understanding of motivation and adherence to physical exercise rehabilitation will help mitigate the individual, societal and financial costs interrelated with poor adherence.

By undertaking this research I hope to provide a base from which healthcare professionals and patients can implement motivational strategies and examine their usefulness and effectiveness. My research also has the potential to encourage training and education opportunities for rehabilitation staff.

A world-leading research environment

Having completed my Sport and Exercise Psychology MSc at Loughborough, I knew I wanted to remain part of a university with a world-leading reputation in lifestyle medicine and behaviour change for the prevention and treatment associated with long-term medical conditions, like stroke.

Before starting the PhD, I was working as a therapy assistant at the National Institution of Conductive Education where I supported individuals with neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke. The aim was to provide them with a rehabilitation programme that focuses on their physical movements and their emotional well-being.

I have also set up a private sport and exercise psychology consultancy as I am a Sport and Exercise Psychologist in Training (SEPiT) under the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).

My plan is to become a researcher in the field of sport and exercise and healthcare (specifically rehabilitation and prehabilitation). I would also like to be able to teach at a university while I am researching in the area that I am passionate about.


*Bettina’s PhD is funded by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) East Midlands and Loughborough University.

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