Skip navigation

Dr Sarah Partington

Principal Lecturer/Teaching Fellow

Department: Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

Sarah has lectured in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Northumbria University since 2001. During that time she has occupied several leadership roles, including Director of Programmes and Head of Department. Sarah is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 5 accredited coach, a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist and is on the Health and Care Professions Council Register (Practitioner Psychologist).  She is also a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP).

Sarah has worked as a sport psychology consultant for athletes and coaches across a range of sports at both National and International level. In particular, she has provided sport psychology support to England Badminton, England Athletics and professional rugby.  Sarah has expertise in narrative psychology and uses this perspective to research and support the mental health and well-being of athletes.

Sarah Partington

Campus Address

Northumberland Building

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Sarah is a Cultural Sport Psychologist. In her research, she adopts a narrative approach, studying how sports people draw upon culturally available narratives to make sense of their experiences and to construct their identities.  In her PhD, Sarah utilised narrative as a way of studying peak experiences in sport, analysing how positive subjective experiences are constructed, understood and shared through cultural story-telling. Post PhD, Sarah has continued to engage with narrative psychology, exploring how narratives serve as guides across various transitions in sport, including becoming a student athlete and dealing with sporting mid-life. Most recently, Sarah has been working within the broader context of athlete mental health, using narrative to understand the positive and negative impact of cultural stories on athletes’ identities and health. In particular, she is interested in the intersectional nature of identities, the power dynamics around cultural resources and the opportunity to use narrative to decolonise problematic cultural stories to support behaviour change for health. Current research projects are focused upon the use of narrative to explore the alcohol-sport nexus. Sarah is also currently contributing to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to design an app to monitor athlete mental health.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Retrospective cohort study of the South Tyneside Exercise Referral scheme 2009-2014: Predictors of dropout and barriers to adherence, Kelly, M., Rae, G., Partington, S., Dodd-Reynolds, C., Caplan, N. 1 Dec 2017, In: Journal of Public Health
  • Drinking Outcome Expectancies and Normative Perceptions of Students Engaged in University Sport in England, Longstaff, F., Heather, N., Allsop, S., Partington, E., Jankowski, M., Wareham, H., St Clair Gibson, A., Partington, S. Mar 2015, In: Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
  • Psychophysiological responses in experienced firefighters undertaking repeated self-contained breathing apparatus tasks, Young, P., St Clair Gibson, A., Partington, E., Partington, S., Wetherell, M. 3 Nov 2014, In: Ergonomics
  • Readiness to change drinking behaviour among heavy-drinking university students in England, Longstaff, F., Heather, N., Jankowski, M., Allsop, S., Wareham, H., Partington, S., Partington, E., St Clair Gibson, A. 2014, In: Education and Health
  • Stressors and Coping Strategies of UK Firefighters during On-duty Incidents, Young, P., Partington, S., Wetherell, M., St Clair Gibson, A., Partington, E. 2014, In: Stress and Health
  • Anxiety, stress and perceived workload during the command and control of computer simulated fire service training environments, Young, P., St Clair Gibson, A., Partington, E., Partington, S., Wetherell, M. 2013, In: International Journal of Emergency Services
  • The relationship between membership of a university sports group and drinking behaviour among students at English Universities., Partington, S., Partington, E., Heather, N., Longstaff, F., Allsop, S., Jankowski, M., Wareham, H., Stephens, R., St Clair Gibson, A. 2013, In: Addiction Research & Theory
  • Alcohol Use Disorders and Hazardous Drinking among Undergraduates at English Universities, Heather, N., Partington, S., Partington, E., Longstaff, F., Allsop, S., Jankowski, M., Wareham, H., St Clair Gibson, A. 2011, In: Alcohol and Alcoholism
  • Coping strategies in UK firefighters, Young, P., St Clair Gibson, A., Partington, E., Partington, S., Wetherell, M. Aug 2010, 31st conference of the Stress and Anxiety Research Society
  • The dark side of flow: a qualitative study on dependence in big wave surfing, Partington, S., Partington, E., Olivier, S. Jun 2009, In: The Sports Psychologist

PGR Supervision

Joanne Smith Student Alcohol Consumption: An Exploration of the Social Factors Involved in UK Student and Student-Athlete Drinking Behaviour Start Date: 01/10/2014 End Date: 11/06/2019


  • Sports Science PhD June 30 2001
  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2020
  • Graduate Member (MBPsS) British Psychological Society (BPS) 1994

a sign in front of a crowd

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

a person sitting at a table

Order your prospectus

If you would like to know more about our courses, or life in general as a student at Northumbria, then we can help you.

Latest News and Features

More news

Back to top