Mairi Mulvenna


Participation in competitive sport has demonstrated the ability to encourage physical, social and psychological benefits for an athlete in their pursuit of excellence yet attaining such positive outcomes does not come automatically. Therefore, the unexpected challenges that test the psycho-physiological strength of an individual warrant continued investigation.

My PhD research broadly surrounds athlete motivation and well-being but more specifically, explores the motivational determinants of psycho-physiological well-being in sport using Deci & Ryan’s (1985) Self-Determination Theory (SDT). In particular, Basic Psychological Needs Theory (BPNT; Deci & Ryan, 2002), an SDT sub-theory will guide my research. I will conduct a series of experimental studies, placing participants under various social conditions associated with the principles of SDT and analysing their psychological and physiological responses as well as their general performance levels.

As an active and passionate sportsperson, I am well accustomed to the competitive nature of the sporting environment and the many social influences that can affect performance, both advantageously and disadvantageously. I am hopeful my research can impact current and future generations of athletes, coaching staff, management and organisational bodies to ensure maximum psychological and physical performance is achieved and more importantly maintained.

Mairi Mulvenna

PhD Student

Building: James Starley 
Room: JSG12

Research Gate


Mairi completed her undergraduate degree in Sport Science at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, graduating in July 2013 and successfully secured a place to continue her studies there on the MSc Applied Sport Psychology programme from which she graduated in March 2015. Between finishing her MSc degree and beginning her PhD here at Coventry University, Mairi had the opportunity to gain lecturing experience with predominantly first and second years studying on the Sport & Exercise undergraduate programmes at her home institution, University of Ulster, Jordanstown (UUJ) which gave her an invaluable insight into this career path. Since starting her PhD within the Centre for Psychology, Behaviour & Achievement (PBA), Mairi has attained additional experience as an academic tutor to both undergraduate and Masters-level students whereby teaching and marking responsibilities are expected.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023