Andrea Bundon

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

Social Contexts
critical disability studies
social media

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Research Methodology

Qualitative methodologies
community-based research
digital qualitative


Master's students
Doctoral students
Any time / year round
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.

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These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.


Could not agree more @dean_nikolaus! Thanks @ultreia1x for being an outstanding mentor. You push my thinking, always create a space where I feel heard, valued, and where can try out my ideas. Thank you also for always providing balanced, thoughtful, and selfless advice.


I would like to thank @ultreia1x for being such a #GreatSupervisor. An excellent scholar, and an even better mentor! #GreatSupervisorWeek #UBC


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

A sociocultural analysis of adaptive skateboarding and wheelchair motocross (2024)

This dissertation research project explored physically disabled skateboarders’ and wheelchair motocross (WCMX) riders’ experiences within the skateboarding (sub)culture. Using (digital) qualitative methods, this project examined 30 physically disabled riders’ experiences within three different “skate spaces” 1) the skateboarding (sub)culture, 2) the digital space of Instagram, and 3) material spaces (skateparks and the streets). Situating this work in Critical Disability Studies, findings illustrated how participation in adaptive skateboarding and WCMX may offer disabled individuals a range of health benefits including enhanced physical and mental health and a myriad of social benefits including improved self-confidence and independence, expanded social networks, and greater sense of community and belonging. Findings also highlighted how participation in adaptive skateboarding and WCMX may allow disabled riders the opportunity to challenge ableist ideas and assumptions about disability. Despite these benefits, however, findings also illuminated how larger social, cultural, political, economic, and structural forces may influence disabled riders’ participation in different sporting milieus. This study contributes to literature on action sports, disability sport, and the sociology of sport and highlight both the benefits and challenges of participation in adaptive action sports for physically disabled people.

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Olympic and Paralympic athletes' (de)construction of athlete psychological well-being (2024)

The purpose of this dissertation was to examine, synthesize, and explore contextualized psychological well-being (PWB) in the elite sport environment. This dissertation is composed of six chapters, an introduction, four manuscripts, and a general discussion. In chapter 1, I provide an overview of the well-being perspectives (hedonic and eudaimonic) and discuss the need to contextualize well-being in the elite sport environment. In chapter 2 (manuscript 1), I present a critical commentary of the application of well-being in the field of sport and exercise psychology and provide three recommendations for future research: 1. Operating from a distinct well-being tradition or a complete combination of perspectives, 2. Theoretically aligning measurements of well-being to the appropriate tradition of well-being, and 3. Employing qualitative research to identify context specific dimensions of well-being. In chapter 3 (manuscript 2), I discuss ‘how to’ complete a rigorous and methodologically coherent reflexive thematic analysis. Further, I deliberate how the use of interviews along with photographs can aid in the exploration and understanding of a psychological concept. In chapter 4 (manuscript 3), I explored how COVID-19 and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games impacted athletes’ PWB. I developed two overarching and interrelated themes: 1. ‘performance’ interruption and 2. (re)negotiating success and ‘mastering’ psychological well-being. Athletes’ stories primarily centered around the inability to live the performance narrative, and the consequences this had on one’s PWB. The results highlight important contextual factors that impact athletes’ PWB, and the need to explore ‘what is’ athlete PWB. In chapter 5 (manuscript 4), I addressed the overarching research question, what is athlete PWB? Through this work, eight components of sport specific PWB were co-constructed to represent athletes’ understandings of PWB in the elite sport context. The eight components included self-confidence and worth; personal balance; aligned purpose; fulfillment; performance; agency; psychological safety; and psychological adaptability. I propose these components work together to facilitate athlete PWB. Lastly, in chapter six I present a general discussion thighlighting how findings contribute theoretically and conceptually, methodologically, and practically. Findings presented in this dissertation increase our understanding of contextually relevant components of athlete PWB.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Out with the old-school: exploring women hockey players' sport leadership perceptions and intentions (2022)

The underrepresentation of women in sport leadership roles is recognized by researchers as a significant barrier to achieving gender equity in sport (Burton & Leberman, 2017a). This issue is even more prevalent in male-dominated sports such as ice hockey, where women represent less than 5% of coaches in Canada (Hockey Canada, 2020). While there is extensive research that documents the barriers and supports for women in sport leadership, few studies have examined this issue from the perspective of potential future sport leaders, namely varsity women athletes. Further, no existing research has explored this topic in a Canadian hockey-specific context. Using semi-structured interviews and focus groups, this study explored 11 Canadian varsity women hockey players’ perceptions of and experiences with sport leadership, as well as their intentions to pursue sport leadership roles after graduation. A critical feminist lens was applied to consider how and to what extent the athletes’ gendered experiences impacted their sport leadership intentions and perceptions. After engaging in a reflexive thematic analysis, the findings of this study were categorized into three main themes. The first theme contextualized participants’ perceptions and experiences with sport leadership through an in-depth review of the women athletes’ experiences growing up in a male-dominated hockey setting. The second theme examined participants’ (gendered) perceptions and experiences with sport leadership, revealing an overall preference for interpersonal and athlete-centered leadership styles. Further, this theme demonstrated the impact of the athletes’ current and past sport leaders on their own beliefs and values in relation to sport and sport leadership. The third theme outlined the athletes’ calculated intentions to pursue sport leadership, describing how they expressed an interest in pursuing sport leadership, but rarely as a top priority. Additionally, this theme identified gendered implications related to the athletes’ intentions to pursue sport leadership, suggesting that sport leadership was often a lower priority for the participants due to a lack of opportunities for women in many hockey leadership environments.

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Cannabis use in high performance sport: an exploration (2021)

Cannabis use is undergoing a process of normalization, which is allowing for cannabis use to transition from a once deviant social behaviour to remerge as a common lifestyle choice (Duff et al., 2012). On October 17th, 2018, recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Canada. Since then, cannabis use has increased nationally (Statistics Canada, 2019); this is due to the measurable changes in the ways Canadians perceive and understand the risks associated with cannabis use. However, cannabis remains prohibited for varsity student-athletes in Canada. Consequently, varsity student-athletes who use cannabis maintain separate and competing identities as athletes and as cannabis users. Noting both the proliferation of cannabis use culture in Canada and the prohibition of cannabis use for varsity student-athletes, this study employed a qualitative, phenomenological approach to situate cannabis use within a sociocultural context and to explore cannabis use amongst men and women varsity student-athletes from the University of British Columbia. The purposes of this study were twofold. First, I wanted to challenge existing assumptions by uncovering the reasons why athletes use cannabis and how they use it. Second, I wanted to understand the role that cannabis has in shaping athletes’ identities by exploring the experiences they have when they use cannabis. The findings revealed that cannabis use amongst varsity student-athletes is prevalent despite the current restrictions and that the participants motives and cannabis use behaviours for using cannabis were purposeful. This study also explored student-athletes lived experiences of using cannabis. The findings revealed that the participants used cannabis in ways, at times, and in contexts that allowed them to maintain their dual, competing identities. The findings also highlighted that cannabis use represented a discreditable behaviour, which resulted in feelings of shame, guilt, and regret.

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Seeing without sight: an exploration of the athlete - guide partnership in high - performance parasport (2021)

Individuals who are blind or visually impaired compete in Paralympic sports with the help of their sighted guides. The guide participates alongside the athlete, and the pair seek to achieve optimal performance together. The partnership transforms many sports such as athletics, cycling, skiing, and triathlon, which are typically understood to be individual, into team sports dependent on communication and rapport. The purpose of this study was to explore how the athlete – guide partnership is experienced in high-performance parasport. More specifically, the study sought to identify how interdependence is experienced within these partnerships and how the athlete – guide partnership challenges and/or reproduces normative assumptions of bodies, abilities, and sport. The study was informed by a critical interpretivist paradigm and included 12 semi-structured interviews with both the athletes and the guides from six high-performance athlete – guide pairs. The data were analyzed through a reflexive thematic analysis and four themes were constructed: “You Live as a Team, You Die as a Team” captured the unique benefits and challenges of working as a team in the athlete – guide partnership. The theme Better Together was guided by Poczwardowski et al.’s (2019) 5C’s model of interdependence and represents how athletes and guides uniquely experienced compatibility, closeness, commitment, complementarity, and coorientation. The next theme, Building Bridges: Connecting and Embracing Differences illustrates how the athlete – guide partnership can be used as a tool to challenge normative assumptions of dis/abilities, ab/normalities, and sport. Finally, The Uphill Battle describes how the partnership reproduces negative understandings of disability and sport. The study provides novel insights into how these partnerships are experienced and the ways in which interdependent relationships shape experiences and understandings of disability in the context of high-performance sport. Recommendations for sport psychologists and other sport professionals who support these partnerships are provided.

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Disability in the gym: perceptions and understandings about individuals with disabilities (2019)

Obtaining and maintaining health is vitally important to people with disabilities, especially when you consider the fact that they report low standards of health (Carroll et al., 2014; Drum et al., 2005; WHO, 2011). One of the key reasons for their poor health conditions is their lack of engagement in physical activity and exercise (Rimmer et al., 1996; Schoenborn & Barnes, 2002; Washburn et al., 2002). Gyms have been recognized as important environments in which individuals with disabilities can engage in physical activity and exercise and positively influence several aspects of their well-being (Calder et al., 2018; Richardson et al., 2017a, 2017b, 2017c). As trainers and instructors have been recognized as an essential element of supporting positive gym experiences (Martin & Smith, 2002; Richardson et al, 2017c), it is essential to uncover their understanding of disability and individuals with disabilities. Using semi-structured qualitative interviews with 12 trainers and instructors, this research critically explored personal trainers’ and instructors’ understanding of disability and the potential impact of these perceptions and understandings on the experiences of people with disabilities when they visit the gym. The findings revealed that trainers and instructors understood disability as a lack of ability and a deviation from a common norm. Individuals with disabilities were perceived as an anomaly from the desired able-bodied standard. Moreover, the findings highlighted that fear of inability to design and implement adequate and safe training sessions posed a barrier as it discouraged trainers and instructors from working with individuals with disabilities. However, when trainers and instructors did work with clients with disabilities, they did not only have positive experiences but they also felt they developed a more holistic practice as a result of this experience.

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Silence on 'The Break': Exploring Concussion in Canadian West Coast Surf Culture (2019)

Over the last decade a burgeoning body of research has emerged that has explored sport-related concussion (SRC) within a socio-cultural context. In particular, this research has focused on the participants of more “traditional” team sports such as rugby, hockey and football, all the while ignoring participants of more “non-traditional” individualized sports such as surfing. This is significant, as over the last decade surfing has seen a surge in participation rates worldwide (Gilchrist & Wheaton, 2017) and has subsequently witnessed a rise in head-related injuries, including SRC. Noting both the increase in participation rates and the rising rates of head-related injuries within surfing, this ethnographically informed study attempted to unpack and situate surf-related concussion within a socio-cultural context by critically exploring how experienced, male and female surfers from Canada’s West Coast understood, perceived, and gave meaning to SRC. The findings revealed that both male and female surfers displayed head strong (Liston et al., 2018) attitudes towards SRC, which encouraged risk-taking behaviours and the denial and downplaying of the injury. Moreover, the findings highlighted the intersections of gender and perceptions of risk in relation to the surfers’ understandings of SRC and raised questions as to who is responsible for educating and diagnosing SRC in unregulated sporting contexts. In addition, the study investigated surfers’ perceptions and attitudes towards protective headgear in surfing and explored why surfers do not wear protective headgear while they surf. The findings highlighted that the surfers’ reasons for not wearing protective headgear were often guided and influenced by larger social, (sub)cultural, and political factors.

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News Releases

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