David is a professor in the Research Institute of Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure at Leeds Beckett University. For two decades David has been conducting research into identity development and mental health in sport and physical activity settings. His work prioritizes developing rich understandings of different individual’s experiences through qualitative approaches such as narrative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork. Since 2000, David has worked in partnership with Kitrina Douglas researching both sides of the sport/mental health coin: the benefits of recreational physical activity and sport for people with diagnosed mental health problems and the threats to mental health of long-term involvement in elite and professional sport.
Across his research, David tries to use and develop accessible forms of presentation to enable the public to engage more fully with social science research that may be relevant to their lives. These approaches include arts-based and performative methodologies such as storytelling, songs, film, and live performance. David has shared his research internationally through numerous journal articles and invited book chapters; keynotes and conference presentations; audio CDs and films; lectures and CPD workshops. He is co-author, with Kitrina Douglas, of two books: Sport and Physical Activity for Mental Health (Wiley-Blackwell) and Life Story Research in Sport (Routledge).