Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology (PhD)
Athlete psychological well-being
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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
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
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.
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.
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.
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.