Profile image of Dr Gavin Breslin

Dr Gavin Breslin

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Profile image of Dr Gavin Breslin


School of Psychology


Sport and Exercise Sciences Research


Room 15E07B Shore Road Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT37 0QB


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Dr. Gavin Breslin is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Psychology, Ulster University, a member of the Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute and Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Gavin is a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist, a Registered Practitioner of the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He completed his BSc and PhD in Psychology at Queens University Belfast, the Aspiring Academic Leadership and Management Programme at Ulster, and studied International Business in the USA.

Gavin has published extensively both nationally and internationally in the area of mental health and well-being, including two books entitled, Sport and Exercise Psychology: Practitioner Case Studies (2016, Wiley-Blackwell) and Mental Health Interventions in Sport: Research Theory and Practice (2019, Routledge). He has led on systematic reviews, cross sectional, prospective, and case studies on mental health, and has designed RCT interventions using psychological behaviour change theory to enhance health and well-being for children and adults in schools, sports clubs, prisons, secure hospitals and workplace settings.

Gavin is the lead advisor for research underpinning Sport Northern Ireland and the Public Health Agencies ‘Wellbeing in Sport Action Plan 2019-2025’ which he authored. His research underpinned the development of the Action Plan that has since impacted governing bodies of sport, and clubs across Northern Ireland. In 2018/19 he led a panel of experts on the development of an international consensus statement on mental health interventions in sport, with researchers, policy makers and practitioners from 10 countries.

His work has been cited in international publications and by the BPS, and Royal College of Psychiatry as a result. He has supervised numerous PhD students to completion and managed post-doctoral fellows and research assistants during his time at Ulster through his funded research grants. He has also led the largest physical activity and well-being research intervention for over 7000 children from social disadvantage across Ireland (Sport For Life Programme, 2009-2018). His research on mental health and sport in prisons has been cited in reports by the Ministry of Justice, illustrating the impact that his research has had in improving mental health in psychologically challenging environments.

Gavin has had several leadership positions, and is a member of numerous committees internal and external to Ulster University. He was former Head of The School of Sport, Learning and Teaching Coordinator for the School of Sport, MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology Course Director, Year Group lead, and has led revalidation and accreditation of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes internally and with the British Psychological Society. He currently mentors research staff at Ulster. He is the Chief Assessor in the UK for the Stage 2 Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology with the British Psychological Society. He currently chairs the BPS DSEP COVID-19 Working Group to produce evidence based guidance for protecting mental health and wellbeing of those involved in competitive sport.

Along with teaching and research responsibilities, he has worked with national and international athletes and teams in sport psychology, he has advised various sport associations on how to develop actions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their organisations.

He was funded by UEFA to review dual career and player wellbeing across Europe, the HSE Public Health Agency to evaluate mental health interventions, Sport NI to evaluate mental health interventions, and more recently NIHR to conduct research on effectiveness of public health interventions as part of the UK wide PHIRST initiative.

His passions are his family, music, playing guitar, running marathons and trying to understand the psychology of how humans develop, learn, and reach their optimal potential.