Dr Shaunna Burke

BA 1997-2000; McGill University, MA 2001-2003; University of Ottawa, PhD 2003-2007; University of Ottawa
Associate Professor in Exercise and Health Psychology
School of Biomedical Sciences

Contact: Miall 5.20, +44(0) 113 34 35086, email address for  

Dr Shaunna Burke is an Associate Professor in Exercise and Health Psychology at the University of Leeds. Her research is focused on the role of physical activity in health and disease. She is particularly interested in physical activity for the prevention and treatment of cancer and improving quality of life across the disease continuum. She is also interested in the advancement of qualitative research methods within clinical and health services research, evaluations of exercise interventions in public health, and strategies to increase activity levels and decrease sedentary behaviour across the lifespan.

Recent research projects have been funded by Cancer Research UK, National Institute of Health Research, Heart Research UK, Arts Council England, and Cyclists Fighting Cancer. Her projects have been published in high impact factor journals including Cancer, Journal of Health Psychology, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Psycho-Oncology, Disability and Rehabilitation, and Supportive Care in Cancer.




Current Projects

Investigating the feasibility and acceptability of geocaching for promoting physical activity in childhood cancer patients and their families - CRUK funded project (PI)

A pilot study to investigate improvements in physical fitness and quality of life resulting from a 9-week structured responsive endurance training programme following neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy prior to elective rectal cancer surgery - NIHR funded project (CoI)

Investigating the impact of a community-based dance programme on the health and well-being of young people from deprived urban areas - Arts Council England funded study (PI)

Physical activity in pallitative and neurological care: Clinical practice recommendations - UoL funded project (PI)



Faculty Research and Innovation

Modules managed

SPSC3318 - Exercise and Psychological Health

Modules taught

SPSC1211 - Tutorial and Practical Skills in Sport and Exercise Science
SPSC1216 - Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology
SPSC2218 - Professional and Research Skills: Working as a Sport and Exercise Scientist
SPSC3061 - Research Project in Sport and Exercise Science II
SPSC3301 - Inter-disciplinary Issues in Sport and Exercise Science
SPSC3318 - Exercise and Psychological Health
SPSC3329 - Motor and Psychological Aspects of Rehabilitation

Academic roles

Examinations Officer for UG Programmes - Sports Science programmes
Examinations Officer for PGT Programmes - Sports Science programmes


Member of Masters Taught Student Education Committee
Member of Undergraduate School Taught Student Education Committee (Programme Manager: Sport and Exercise Sciences, Sport Science and Physiology)


Andrew Bradshaw (Primary supervisor) 80% FTE
Sam White (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE

Burke SM, Brunet J, Wurz A, Butler C, Utley A Cycling Through Cancer: Exploring Childhood Cancer Survivors’ Experiences of Well- and Ill-Being Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly 34 345-361, 2017
View abstract

Burke S, Wurz A, Bradshaw A, Saunders S, West MA, Brunet J Physical activity and quality of life in cancer survivors: A meta-synthesis of qualitative research Cancers 9, 2017
View abstract

Brunet J, Burke S, Grocott MPW, West MA, Jack S The effects of exercise on pain, fatigue, insomnia, and health perceptions in patients with operable advanced stage rectal cancer prior to surgery: A pilot trial BMC Cancer 17 1-, 2017
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Coroiu A, Körner A, Burke S, Meterissian S, Sabiston CM Stress and posttraumatic growth among survivors of breast cancer: A Test of Curvilinear Effects International Journal of Stress Management 23 84-97, 2016
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Loughney L, West MA, Kemp GJ, Rossiter HB, Burke SM, Cox T, Barben CP, Mythen MG, Calverley P, Palmer DH, Grocott MPW, Jack S The effects of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and an in-hospital exercise training programme on physical fitness and quality of life in locally advanced rectal cancer patients (The EMPOWER Trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials 17 24-, 2016
View abstract

Burke S RETHINKING 'VALIDITY' AND 'TRUSTWORTHINESS' IN QUALITATIVE INQUIRY How might we judge the quality of qualitative research in sport and exercise sciences?, 2016

Burke SM, West MA, Grocott MPW, Brunet J, Jack S Exploring the experience of adhering to a prescribed pre-surgical exercise program for patients with advanced rectal cancer: A phenomenological study Psychology of Sport and Exercise 16 88-95, 2015
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Burke SM, Brunet J, Sabiston CM, Jack S, Grocott MPW, West MA Patients' perceptions of quality of life during active treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer: the importance of preoperative exercise SUPPORTIVE CARE IN CANCER 21 3345-3353, 2013

Brunet J, Burke SM, Sabiston CM The benefits of being self-determined in promoting physical activity and affective well-being among women recently treated for breast cancer PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY 22 2245-2252, 2013

Burke SM, Brunet, Sabiston, Taran A qualitative exploration of barriers and motivators to physical activity participation in women treated for breast cancer Disability and Rehabilitation 35 2038-2045, 2013

Brunet J, Sabiston CM, Burke SM Surviving breast cancer: Women's experiences with their changed bodies Body Image 10 344-351, 2013
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Burke SM, Utley A Climbing towards recovery: investigating physically injured combat veterans' psychosocial response to scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION 35 732-739, 2013

Burke SM, Utley A Psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery: the role of physical activity INTRODUCTION DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION 35 2029-2029, 2013

Burke SM, Sabiston CM, Vallerand RJ Passion in breast cancer survivors: Examining links to emotional well-being JOURNAL OF HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY 17 1161-1175, 2012

Burke SM, Sabiston CM Fostering growth in the survivorship experience: Investigating breast cancer survivors’ lived experiences scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro from a posttraumatic growth perspective The Qualitative Report 17 1-19, 2012

Sabiston CM, Brunet J, Burke SM Pain, Movement, and Mind: Does Physical Activity Mediate the Relationship between Pain and Mental Health among Survivors of Breast Cancer? Clinical Journal of Pain 28 489-495, 2012
View abstract

Burke SM, Durand-Bush N, Doell K Exploring feel and motivation with recreational and elite Mount Everest climbers: An ethnographic study International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 8 373-393, 2010
View abstract

Burke SM, Durand-Bush N, Doell K An Ethnographic Study of Motivation and Feel with Novice and Elite Mount Everest Climbers. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 8 373-393, 2010

Burke SM, Sabiston CM The meaning of the mountain: Exploring breast cancer survivors’ lived experiences of subjective well-being during a climb on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health 2 1-16, 2010

Burke SM, Sparkes AC Cognitive dissonance and the role of self in high altitude mountaineering: An analysis of six published autobiographies Life Writing 6 329-347, 2009

Burke SM, Sparkes CM, Allen-Collinson J High altitude climbers as ethnomethodologists making sense of cognitive dissonance: Ethnographic insights from an attempt to scale Mt. Everest. The Sport Psychologist 22 336-355, 2008