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Our Fitness, Aging and Stress Lab at UBC is currently actively engaged in several different laboratory and community studies. In the laboratory, we are examining the impact of different lengths and intensities of exercise on biological and psychological responses to acute stressors. We are also examining the flip side of this - how chronic and acute stress impact biological and psychological responses to acute bouts of exercise.
In our lab, we are also recruiting 10 year old children to study the associations between physical literacy and activity with social and emotional development, and biological 'omic' profiles, including metabolomic, proteomic, and microbiomic profiles.
Finally, our lab is also analyzing data from large nationally representative studies, such as Health and Retirement Study and the Midlife in The United States Study, examining longterm impacts of socioeconomic disadvantage and chronic stressors on physical activity engagement and disease.
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Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2019)
Educators working in early childhood education and care receive little to no training in physical activity or physical literacy. However, they are expected to adhere to government standards for physical activity and skill development during the childcare day. This dissertation sought to determine what characterizes a successful intervention aiming to train educators in physical activity and/or physical literacy, what barriers and facilitators educators identify in meeting daily activity standards, what the physical literacy of educators is, and if educator physical literacy is associated with their behaviours and intentions to provide physical activity or physical literacy activities regularly. A systematic review was undertaken to parse apart the distinct characteristics of effective training interventions in physical activity or physical literacy. Training programs that provided ongoing support, relied on a theoretical framework, and objectively measured study fidelity were more successful. Educators were interviewed (n=24) to assess facilitators and barriers they face when implementing policy mandated activity standards. Results demonstrated that the personal values of educators facilitated adherence, and if physical space was poor, or resources were low, adherence was inhibited. Finally, a cross-sectional study measured the physical literacy of educators (n=94), and utilized regression analysis to determine relationships between measured physical literacy and self-reported behaviours and intentions to provide physical activity and/or physical literacy opportunities daily. Physical activity behaviour and understanding were high, but the remaining components of physical literacy were moderate. A relationship was found between educator self-reported intentions and behaviours for providing physical activity opportunities and the physical literacy component of understanding, but no relationship was found for the other components of physical literacy. The results of these three studies demonstrate that educators are trainable in physical activity and physical literacy, but high-quality training programs that provide continued support and/or training for educators are needed. Training programs may not need to focus on the personal physical literacy of educators. Mandating training for educators to provide quality physical literacy opportunities to children should be a high public health priority.
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
The potential mechanisms driving the optimal, healthy physical and psychological development of children have been studied extensively (Janssen et al., 2010; Milteer, Ginsburg, & Mulligan, 2012; Parfitt & Eston, 2005). Specific movement behaviours, including physical activity, sedentary time, and sleep have been studied independently to examine their influence on health outcomes. Emotional well-being, which encompasses a variety of psychological concepts including optimism, general self-concept, satisfaction with life, and sadness, is considered an important element in the healthy development of children (Guerra & Bradshaw, 2008). This study examined the extent to which four objectively-measured movement behaviours – light physical activity (LPA), moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), sedentary time, and sleep – are associated with emotional well-being in a sample of grades four and five children (N = 21). This study had three objectives: 1) to examine independent associations between the four separate movement behaviours and emotional well-being, 2) to examine the relationship between one movement behaviour and emotional well-being relative to time spent in other movement behaviours using compositional analysis, and 3) to examine whether time spent in sedentary screen activities versus non-screen sedentary activities moderated the relationship between objectively-measured sedentary time and emotional well-being. For objective 1, among the independent Spearman correlations, only MVPA was significantly and positively correlated with emotional well-being (ρ = 0.77, p
- Advancing Research on Psychosocial Stress and Aging with the Health and Retirement Study: Looking Back to Launch the Field Forward (2020)
The Journals of Gerontology: Series B,
- Chronic psychosocial and financial burden accelerates 5-year telomere shortening: findings from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (2020)
Molecular Psychiatry, 25 (5), 1141--1153
- Early childhood education and care: Do we need to develop the physical literacy of educators? (2020)
- Predicting mortality from 57 economic, behavioral, social, and psychological factors (2020)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117 (28), 16273--16282
- The Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Psychological Functioning in Family Caregivers: Secondary Analyses of a Randomized Controlled Trial (2020)
Annals of Behavioral Medicine,
- Cumulative lifetime stress exposure and leukocyte telomere length attrition: The unique role of stressor duration and exposure timing (2019)
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 104, 210--218
- Stress resilience: Narrative identity may buffer the longitudinal effects of chronic caregiving stress on mental health and telomere shortening (2019)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 77, 101--109
- Aerobic exercise lengthens telomeres and reduces stress in family caregivers: A randomized controlled trial - Curt Richter Award Paper 2018 (2018)
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 98, 245--252
- Associations between chronic caregiving stress and T cell markers implicated in immunosenescence (2018)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 73, 546--549
- A null mutation in SERPINE1 protects against biological aging in humans (2017)
Science Advances, 3 (11), eaao1617
- Physical activity and negative affective reactivity in daily life. (2017)
Health Psychology, 36 (12), 1186--1194
- Lifespan adversity and later adulthood telomere length in the nationally representative US Health and Retirement Study (2016)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113 (42), E6335--E6342
- Predictors of HIV testing among men who have sex with men: A focus on men living outside major urban centres in Canada (2016)
AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 28 (6), 705-711
- Systematic and Cell Type-Specific Telomere Length Changes in Subsets of Lymphocytes (2016)
Journal of Immunology Research, 2016
- Determinants of telomere attrition over 1 year in healthy older women: Stress and health behaviors matter (2015)
Molecular Psychiatry, 20 (4), 529-535
- Exercise Mitigates Cumulative Associations Between Stress and BMI in Girls Age 10 to 19 (2015)
- Putting the brakes on the "drive to eat": Pilot effects of naltrexone and reward-based eating on food cravings among obese women (2015)
Eating Behaviors, 19, 53-56
- The Association of early and recent psychosocial life stress with leukocyte telomere length (2015)
Psychosomatic Medicine, 77 (8), 882-891
- Anger Is Associated with Increased IL-6 Stress Reactivity in Women, But Only Among Those Low in Social Support (2014)
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21 (6), 936-945
- Chronic stress increases vulnerability to diet-related abdominal fat, oxidative stress, and metabolic risk (2014)
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 46, 14-22
- Relationship between perceived discrimination and sedentary behavior in adults (2014)
American Journal of Health Behavior, 38 (5), 641-649
- Chronic psychological stress and racial disparities in body mass index change between Black and White girls aged 10-19 (2013)
Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 45 (1), 3-12
- Dysregulated relationship of inflammation and oxidative stress in major depression (2013)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 31, 143-152
- Indirect effect of financial strain on daily cortisol output through daily negative to positive affect index in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (2013)
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38 (12), 2883-2889
- Multisystem resiliency moderates the major depression-Telomere length association: Findings from the Heart and Soul Study (2013)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 33, 65-73
- Poor sleep quality potentiates stress-induced cytokine reactivity in postmenopausal women with high visceral abdominal adiposity (2013)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,
- Race, life course socioeconomic position, racial discrimination, depressive symptoms and self-rated health (2013)
Social Science and Medicine, 97, 7-14
- Stress and telomere biology: A lifespan perspective (2013)
Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38 (9), 1835-1842
- Wandering minds and aging cells (2013)
Clinical Psychological Science, 1 (1), 75-83
- An Intricate Dance: Life Experience, Multisystem Resiliency, and Rate of Telomere Decline Throughout the Lifespan (2012)
Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6 (11), 807-825
- Does cellular aging relate to patterns of allostasis?. An examination of basal and stress reactive HPA axis activity and telomere length. (2012)
Physiology and Behavior, 106 (1), 40-45
- Financial strain and impaired fasting glucose: The moderating role of physical activity in the coronary artery risk development in young adults study (2012)
Psychosomatic Medicine, 74 (2), 187-192
- Leptin concentrations in response to acute stress predict subsequent intake of comfort foods (2012)
Physiology and Behavior, 107 (1), 34-39
- Maintenance of a positive outlook during acute stress protects against pro-inflammatory reactivity and future depressive symptoms (2012)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 26 (2), 346-352
- Stress appraisals and cellular aging: A key role for anticipatory threat in the relationship between psychological stress and telomere length (2012)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 26 (4), 573-579
- Cumulative inflammatory load is associated with short leukocyte telomere length in the health, aging and body composition study (2011)
PLoS ONE, 6 (5)
- Daily cognitive appraisals, daily affect, and long-term depressive symptoms: The role of self-esteem and self-concept clarity in the stress process (2011)
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37 (2), 255-268
- Is Self-Disclosure in Couples Coping With Cancer Associated With Improvement in Depressive Symptoms? (2011)
Health Psychology, 30 (6), 753-762
- Multiwave associations between depressive symptoms and endothelial function in adolescent and young adult females (2011)
Psychosomatic Medicine, 73 (6), 456-461
- Physical activity moderates effects of stressor-induced rumination on cortisol reactivity (2011)
Psychosomatic Medicine, 73 (7), 604-611
- Physical fitness and telomere length in patients with coronary heart disease: Findings from the heart and soul study (2011)
PLoS ONE, 6 (11)
- Relationship satisfaction in couples confronted with colorectal cancer: The interplay of past and current spousal support (2011)
Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 34 (4), 288-297
- Shorter leukocyte telomere length in midlife women with poor sleep quality (2011)
Journal of Aging Research, 2011
- Coping Skills (2010)
Encyclopedia of Stress, , 578-584
- Dynamics of telomerase activity in response to acute psychological stress (2010)
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 24 (4), 531-539
- Protecting us from ourselves: Social support as a buffer of trait and state rumination (2010)
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29 (7), 797-820
- Spousal Support and Dyadic Coping in Times of Stress (2010)
Support Processes in Intimate Relationships,
- The power of exercise: Buffering the effect of chronic stress on telomere length (2010)
PLoS ONE, 5 (5)
- Coping and health behaviours in times of global health crises: Lessons from SARS and West Nile (2009)
Global Public Health, 4 (1), 69-81
- Spouse depression and disease course among persons with rheumatoid arthritis (2009)
Arthritis Care and Research, 61 (8), 1011-1017
- The role of empathic responding (2009)
European Psychologist, 14 (1), 18-28