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Dr Kass Gibson

Associate Professor

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

01752 636700 Ext:8611

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Role Summary

Kass is an Associate Professor in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation. Kass is the Chair of Research Ethics at the University, and Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator for Sport and Health. He teaches across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including Public Health, Physiotherapy, Sport Coaching and Physical Education. 

Kass is responsible for all aspects of research ethics and integrity at the University including pre-study research ethics review, ethics and integrity policy development and training, monitoring and auditing of research, and publication ethics. Kass provides bespoke support and advice to researchers, students, managers, and research participants as well as providing training across the University.

Kass has internationally-recognised expertise in research ethics and information governance. He has been a consultant advising NGOs conducting medical research on ethical, social, and cultural research challenges. He is also a Health Research Authority NHS Research Ethics Committee Chair, and a National Research Ethics Service mentor. 





  • PhD, University of Toronto, Canada
  • MSc (Distinction), Loughborough University, UK
  • BEd, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • BA, University of Canterbury, New Zealand


Kass has taught in schools, colleges, and universities in New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom. At the University of St Mark and St John he teaches research methods, social theory, and pedagogy on Public Health, Physiotherapy, Physical Education, Sports Science, and Coaching degree programmes. 

Kass is currently supervising graduate students researching mental health, physical activity and health, and parenting in the outdoors. He welcomes enquires from those seeking opportunities for graduate-level study of physical cultural practices related to health/wellbeing/illness, medical knowledge, and the environment, or any areas related to his published work. 



Kass is a sociologist whose current research projects include ethnographic study of the intersections of health, culture, and the environment through cold water dipping, the use of (non)clinical environments in the management of chronic pain, and empirical and clinical ethics in health research. 

Previous research conducted by Kass has addressed: mental health; sport, animals, and the environment; physical activity health promotion; and science and technology studies as applied to exercise science and public health. Kass' research has informed the Expert Work Group convened by the International Olympic Committee for the Consensus Meeting on Mental Health in Elite Athletes, and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences mental health consensus statement and training materials. Kass' research was returned in REF2021 with 5 research outputs and underpinning research as co-author of the Marjon Health and Wellbeing impact case study.

He has published in journals such as British Journal of Sports Medicine, Journal of Public Health, Psychology of Sport & Exercise, and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health the latter of which he sits on the editorial board. Kass has presented his work at annual conferences of the British Sociological Association’s (BSA) Medical Sociology Group, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Canadian Bioethics Society, and the International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology. 

Current research projects include: 

  • Ethnographic study of cold water dipping 
  • (Non)clinical environments, medicalization, and chronic pain 
  • Sociology of mental health and the brain in sport 
  • Research ethics and post-trial access in exercise and public interventions 

Kass has internationally-recognised expertise in research ethics. He has been a consultant advising NGOs conducting medical research on ethical, social, and cultural research challenges. He is currently Chair of Plymouth Marjon Research Ethics Panel as well as Chair of the National Research Ethics Service South West (Frenchay) Research Ethics Committee, and a REC mentor for the Health Research Authority 


Example Publications

Gibson, K. (2022) Informational hazards and moral harm: Sport and exercise science laboratories as sites of moral catastrophes In J. Cherrington and J. Black (Eds.). Sport and Physical Activity in Catastrophic Environments . Routledge 

Atkinson, M. & Gibson, K. (2022). Sport, Animals, and Humans In L. Wenner (Ed). The Oxford Handbook of Sport and Society (pp.595-612). Oxford University Press 

Williams, O., Wiltshire, G. & Gibson K. (2021). Health Inequalities: how and why physical education can help and hinder the equity agenda In J. Stirrup and O. Hooper (Eds.). Critical Health Pedagogies and Young People (pp.170-183). Routledge.  

Ingham, G., McCormick, A. & Gibson, K. (2021). Parents’ experiences of starting and maintaining exercise: A qualitative systematic review. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 57 

Gorczynski, P., Currie, A., Gibson, K., et al. (2021). Developing mental health literacy and cultural competence in elite sport. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology 33(4): 387-401  

Gibson, K. (2020) Animals, Sport, and the Environment. In B. Millington and B. Wilson (Eds)., Sport and the Environment: Politics and Preferred Futures (pp.103-122). Emerald.  

Gibson, K. & Malcolm, D. (2020) Towards an Eliasian sociology of health and medicine: the case of  Physical Activity Health Promotion. Social Theory and Health, 18 (66-85)  

Gibson, K. (2019) Laboratory Production of Health and Performance: An Ethnographic   Investigation of Sports Science Laboratory. Sport in Society 22(9): 1604-1622   

Gorcyznski, P., Rathod, S. & Gibson, K. (2019). Using health equity to guide future physical activity research involving people living with serious mental illness In S.R. Bird (Ed.) Research Methods in Physical Activity and Health (pp.317-323). London: Routledge 

Gibson, K. & Gorcyznski, P. (2019). Mass Mediation of Mental Illness in Sport In M. Atkinson (Ed.) Sport, Mental Illness, and Sociology (pp.143-160) London: Elsevier 

Williams, O. & Gibson, K. (2018). The Poisoned Elixir: Inactivity, Inequality and Intervention. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health 10(4): 421-428   

Jane, B. & Gibson, K. (2017) ‘Big Food’s sponsorship of physical activity promotion programmes: Part of  the solution or conflict of interest?’ Journal of Public Health 40(9859)  

Gorcyznski, P., Coyle, M., & Gibson, K. (2017). ‘Depressive symptoms in high-performance athletes and non-athletes: a comparative meta-analysis’ British Journal of Sports Medicine 51(8)   

Coyle, M., Gorcyznski, P., & Gibson, K. (2017). ‘“You have to be mental to jump off a board any way”: Elite divers’ conceptualizations and perceptions of Mental Health.’ Psychology of Sport & Exercise 29: 10-18   

Gibson, K. (2016). ‘Mixed methods research: Integrating qualitative research.’ In B. Smith & A.  Sparkes (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Sport and Exercise (pp.382-396). London: Routledge. 

Expert Membership of professional bodies

  • National Research Ethics Service, Chair - South West (Frenchay) Research Ethics Committee
  • Health Research Authority, REC Mentor
  • British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists, Co-author - Expert Statement on Mental Health Literacy in Elite Sport

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