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Research at the Wilfrid Laurier Group Dynamics in Physical Activity Laboratory is currently aimed at enhancing our understanding of group and social influences on cognitive, behavioural, and affective factors related to physical activity in group contexts. 

Specific Objectives

Our specific objectives are to understand:

  1. How physical activity group membership influences individual cognition, affect, and behaviour.
  2. What makes groups effective in terms of achieving their task and social objectives.
  3. How to apply this knowledge to promote physical activity behaviour through group membership.

Overview of Current Research

Theme A: Social integration through physical activity: ACTIVEIntegration

Understanding how physical activity can facilitate greater social integration among new Canadian women and children/youth is the primary focus of the ACTIVEIntegration partnership. This is a partnership of two universities (Wilfrid Laurier University; Laurentian University), not-for-profit community organizations (Focus for Ethnic Women; Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre), the City of Kitchener (Ontario), and the Region of Waterloo Public Health Unit. A dedicated research centre-the Sun Life Financial Centre for Physically Active Communities-is an additional partner that serves as a community-university alliance resource.

Our group of investigators and partners have set the following primary research objectives related to social integration emanating from physical activity involvement: (1) Explore the perceptions of new Canadian women and children/youth as it pertains to the experiences, challenges, barriers, and preferences of physical activity involvement and its role in social integration (Year 1); (2) Determine the degree to which social integration is associated with physical activity involvement via existing opportunities in the community (Year 1); and (3) Develop and evaluate an evidence-based physical activity program to facilitate social integration among new Canadian women and children/youth (Years 2 and 3). This project is support by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2019-2022) and primarily led by 

Theme B: Group dynamics in sport environments

Current and previous work focuses on further understanding group dynamics in sport. Projects focus on how member characteristics contribute to team functioning, the importance of group structure (e.g., role involvement), and how emergent states (e.g., cohesion) and team processes (e.g., socialization, communication) influence team and individual outcomes.

Current Projects:

"Parental involvement and its influence on sport team dynamics"

     (Taylor Coleman, Ph.D student)

"Coach communication practices and development"

     (Travis Crickard, Ph.D student)

"Coach and athlete perceptions of role significance in sport"

     (Madeline Smith-Ackerl, Master's student)

"Cultural diversity and cohesion in sport teams"

     (Vanessa Karim, Master's student)

"Proactivity behaviours and socialization tactics on athletes’ perceptions of their group"

     (Charlotte Revell, Master's student)

"Perceptions of body language in team sports"

     (Zach Cohen, Undergraduate thesis student)

Group Dynamics and Physical Activity Laboratory

Mark Eys, Professor Kinesiology and Physical Education; CRC Tier II Chair

T: 519.884.0710 x4157