Erica Bennett

Assistant Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

stress, emotion, and coping
chronic illness
Physical Activity
community and critical perspectives in physical activity psychology

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.

Research Methodology

Qualitative Methodology
narrative methods
community-based research


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.
I am interested in supervising students to conduct interdisciplinary research.

Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!

Check requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
  • Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
Focus your search
  • Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
  • Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
    • Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
    • Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
Make a good impression
  • Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
    • Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
    • Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
  • Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
  • Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
  • Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
    • Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
    • Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
  • Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
Attend an information session

G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.



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

Graduate Student Supervision

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.

"I still have that athlete soul" : storying identity and pain in retired athletes (2023)

Sport culture narratives teach athletes that their identities should center around athletic performance and physical superiority, with pain as an accepted part of sport-related success. A strong athletic identity has been linked with greater amounts of pain related distress. It is not surprising then that athletes’ learned relationship with pain may have long-term consequences for their identities and overall well-being through the transition out of sport and beyond. While identities in active and retired athletes have been extensively studied, less is known about retired athletes who experience persistent pain post-sporting career. The purpose of this study was to explore how persistent pain shaped and constrained how retired athletes negotiated their post-athletic career identities, and to illuminate how retired athletes used storytelling to make sense of their experiences with persistent pain. Adopting a narrative constructionist lens, I conducted two life story interviews with eight retired athletes (16 interviews) who had played at an elite level and who were currently experiencing persistent pain (pain lasting for greater than three months). Using dialogical narrative analysis, three themes were developed. Firstly, Developing an Intuitive Connection with the Body: participants described how pain taught them to listen to their body in retirement, with this dialogue enabling them to attend to their body’s needs, and to manage their ongoing pain. Secondly, Pain Enabling Empathy and Social Connection: participants used stories to depict how their pain experiences facilitated empathy and connection with others during retirement, which was juxtaposed to the isolation they felt as athletes when in pain. Thirdly, Disaffiliation or Connection Through Storytelling: participants drew on different narrative identity types (performance and relational narratives) based on their social relationships to story their experiences of pain. Some sought disaffiliation from others by recounting stories of athletic dominance, while others sought connection and belonging by relaying stories of teamwork and sport comradery. The findings expand our theoretical understanding of how stories and storytelling are used to make sense of athletes' post-sporting career lives. Application of these findings can better equip coaches, mental performance consultants, and sport organizations to tailor their support for athletes through the transition to retirement.

View record

The role of masculinity on the experience of self-compassion among men varsity athletes (2022)

Self-compassion is a positive way of relating to the self, which can be used by athletes to facilitate the management of stressors and foster high sport achievement (Mosewich, 2020). Research with women athletes suggests that self-compassion is positively related to flourishing, motivation, well-being, and adaptive coping (Mosewich, 2020). However, men athletes’ experiences of self-compassion are relatively absent from the existing research (Reis et al., 2019, 2021). Self-compassion research should focus on men athletes and how masculinity shapes self-compassion to better understand if self-compassion is a viable coping strategy for this population. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 men varsity athletes (20 interviews total) to i) examine competitive men athletes’ perceptions and experiences of self-compassion in relation to sport-related challenges and ii) explore how masculinity shapes experiences of self-compassion. Data were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2019a) and five themes were identified from the men’s accounts. Firstly, being a student athlete is challenging but I wouldn’t change it: participants identified unique challenges and stressors associated with pursuing both varsity sport and university, which required them to cope in adaptive ways and led many of the men to utilize self-compassion. Secondly, balancing act: the relationship between self-compassion and self-criticism: participants expressed that while self-criticism is imperative for improvement in sport, it should be countered with self-compassion to maintain motivation, mental well-being, and self-confidence. Thirdly, self-compassion is a very helpful coping strategy: participants identified self-compassion as an effective coping strategy for sport and other life domains. Fourthly, reluctance: self-compassion is a contentious topic for men athletes: participants denoted that self-compassion may promote complacency, demonstrating the embodiment of dominant masculine narratives of emotional stoicism. Finally, the dichotomous existence of inclusive and hegemonic masculinities: athletes described experiencing contrasting masculine ideologies, which promoted or constrained their implementation of self-compassion. Findings highlight how men varsity athletes implemented self-compassion to cope with poor personal performances and maintain motivation during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the dominant narrative of emotional stoicism engendered some hesitancy towards self-compassion. Findings contribute to empirical research by highlighting men athletes’ experiences of self-compassion in the context of sport-related challenges and masculinity.

View record


If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Sign up for an information session to connect with students, advisors and faculty from across UBC and gain application advice and insight.