Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters
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.
Many larger patients experience weight-based discrimination in healthcare settings, and are judged by practitioners as irresponsible and non-compliant (Phelan et al., 2014). Though there has been increased attention on how weight-based discrimination jeopardizes patient health outcomes (Sutin et al., 2015), empirical research is lacking on 1) practitioners who adopt a social justice approach to caring for larger patients or 2) larger patients’ experiences of receiving social justice-informed care. Social justice in practice refers to addressing intersecting macro-level inequities such as racism, sexism, and sizeism through micro-level practitioner-patient interactions (Mishler, 2005). The present study fills a research gap by examining how social justice is understood, enacted, and experienced in weight-related clinical interventions. Drawing on one-on-one interviews with 22 diverse healthcare practitioners who identify as social justice advocates and 20 larger patients served by such practitioners, four main questions were addressed: 1) How do participants understand social justice? 2) How do practitioners translate social justice principles into practice? 3) What challenges do practitioners encounter when practicing social justice? 4) How does social justice-informed care shape larger patients’ experience? The findings reveal that participants rejected the notion of obesity as an individual problem, and demonstrated a deep awareness of the broader social factors shaping weight and overall wellbeing. Nonetheless, participants’ approaches to care differed depending on whether they regarded obesity as either primarily a social construct or a biomedical fact. Furthermore, despite the prevailing paradigm of obesity as a disease, participants conveyed that non weight-related factors such as financial strain and racism more profoundly impacted patients’ health, which casts doubt on whether medicalizing obesity truly benefits larger patients. A social justice informed-approach to care was found to enhance patients’ experience, with patients expressing appreciation for having their trauma histories and social challenges handled with compassion and curiosity. The study highlights the need to integrate micro-level strategies for individual healing with a macro-level framework of systemic change, as well as cultivate in patients, clinicians, and the public at large a more nuanced understanding of weight and health. The findings provide practice-oriented insights for care informed by frameworks of weight-inclusivity, structural competency, and person-centredness.
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.
This research project sought to explore how Indigenous women athletes experience physical activity and sport through an Indigenous feminisms lens. Five of the ninety-four Calls to Action that have come out of the Final Report of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) are directly related to sport and physical activity. This means that sport and physical activity are positioned as important to processes of reconciliation in Canada. Indigenous participation and achievement in sport and physical activity have largely been ignored in Canadian history and excluded from historical narrative as a result of colonialism and cultural erasure (Hall, 2013). Indigenous women, in particular, lie at an intersection that results in distinctly different experiences due to the impacts of gendered colonialism on Indigenous communities. This research study employed methods guided by community-based participatory research, in partnership with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Circle (ISPARC), conducting virtual focus groups with Indigenous women athletes (17-19 years) who reside in rural or remote areas and are part of Team BC for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). This study explored the following research questions: What are the experiences of young Indigenous women engaged in high performance mainstream sport generally, and Indigenous sport more specifically? What do young Indigenous women want/need in terms of their current and future experiences in sport and physical activity? Using thematic analysis, the research study found that Indigenous girls and women’s experiences are still impacted by colonial structures of racism, classism and sexism. However, these oppressive systems can be dismantled through decolonial practices of relationality, intergenerational support, and increasing Indigenous representation of Indigenous girls and women at all levels of physical activity and sport. This research study also found that physical activity can act as a site of resurgence and holistic wellbeing. This study is significant as it helps fill a gap in the existing scholarly literature on Indigenous women’s experiences in physical activity and sport. Moreover, this study also has possible applied significance as it has the potential to inform culturally-relevant sport and recreation programming for Indigenous girls and women.
This research investigated the relationship between the processes of producing and consuming Instagram media and how these practices shape young women’s embodied understandings of fitness and health. There has been widespread anxiety within popular discourse about how young women use Instagram, especially in relation to health and fitness ideals, and this anxiety is often uncritically reflected in research. There have been relatively few studies that examine how people actually use social media in relation to health and fitness practices and even fewer that explore how young women use social media to make sense of their embodied health identities. This research goes some way towards filling this gap.This study filled those gaps by providing insight into how women produce, read, and experience Instagram content in relation to their own bodies, identities, and experiences across a myriad of social settings. Hence, this research examined meaning making at the intersection where young women simultaneously produce their own Instagram content, while also consuming the content of other users. Nine women who were aged 20-24 years and currently enrolled in kinesiology degrees at various Canadian universities were individually interviewed using semi-structured auto-driven photo elicitation techniques. The results of this research found that there is no simple explanation, rather the notion that Instagram use is complex, paradoxical and multi-layered serves as the most straightforward finding. This research moves Instagram use beyond moral panic discourse by highlighting that Instagram does not exist as only ‘good’ or ‘bad’, rather it is a rich, layered, and nuanced space, whereby the outcomes of user experiences are influenced by unique engagements that depend upon a myriad of factors (lived experiences, mood, fitness level, and so on). The outcome of this study inspires critical thought about social media and its relationship to health behaviors, body image, and exercise habits. Furthermore, this research contributes to a range of literatures including critical media studies, physical cultural studies, and the sociology of health and illness and has several practical applications including informing media literacy and physical and health education curricula.