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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. He teaches across a range of programmes including Sport Coaching and Physical Education, Public Health, and Physiotherapy. Kass' research studying the relationships between physical cultural practices and beliefs and health, wellbeing, illness and medical knowledge was returned in REF2021 with 5 research outputs and underpinning research as co-author of the Marjon Health and Wellbeing impact case study.

In addition to supervising PhD students, Kass is the Postgraduate Research Coordinator for PhDs in Health and Wellbeing, and Sport and Exercise Science at the University. He is also Chair of the Marjon Research Ethics Panel




  • 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 Physical Education, Sports Science, Coaching, Public Health, and Physiotherapy degree programmes. 

Kass is supervising graduate students researching mental health, physical activity and health. He welcomes enquires from those seeking opportunities for graduate-level study of physical cultural practices related to health, wellbeing, illness and medical knowledge are shaped by cultural practices and beliefs, pedagogical innovation/critical pedagogies in sport, physical education, and physical activity, or any areas related to his published work. 



Kass’ research uses a range sociological theories and research methodologies to understand how physical cultural practices related to health, wellbeing, illness and medical knowledge are shaped by broader cultural practices and beliefs, pedagogical innovation/critical pedagogies in sport, physical education, and physical activity.

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 
  • Sociology of mental health and the brain in sport 
  • Effects of place and medicalization on pain management
  • Research ethics and post-trial access in exercise 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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