Sport & Performance Psychology Laboratory


The researchers from the Sport and Performance Psychology Laboratory examine topics such as:

  • Stress and coping in sport
  • Emotion and emotion regulation in sport
  • Interpersonal processes related to stress, coping, and emotion regulation
  • Positive youth development
  • Improving athletes’ participation and enjoyment in sport, and the protection of young athletes
  • Coaching effectiveness and education

Our research is conducted within the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport at the University of Toronto. We use qualitative and quantitative approaches to improve the sport experiences and performance outcomes among athletes of all ages, to help them enjoy sport and perform at their best.


Current Projects 

Projects within the Sport and Performance Psychology Lab span several areas within the field of sport psychology:

  1. Interpersonal Emotion Regulation and the Social Functions of Emotions in Sport
    Sport is a social context, and emotions arise through social interactions with others around us. The way that an athlete or a coach regulates his or her own emotions has consequences for others around them. Using qualitative and quantitative approaches, this line of research examines the social functions of emotions in sport, as well as the ways that coping and emotion regulation impacts others in a sport context.
  2. Coaching Effectiveness and Education
  3. Parent-Child Communication and Coping in Sport
    Parents play an important role in the sport experiences of young athletes, and they can also help athletes learn to cope with stress in sport. This line of research examines parent-child communication in sport to identify evidence-based strategies for parents and athletes to improve their experiences in sport. We are currently in the process of developing and implementing interventions for parents and athletes to promote better sport experiences.
  4. Youth Sport Participation and Athlete Protection
    Our aim is to promote long-term engagement in sport and positive sport experiences for athletes, coaches, and parents. Research projects in this area focus on ways to promote positive youth development through sport, as well as increasing inclusion and access to sport and physical activity opportunities.

 Lab Members

Dr. Katherine Tamminen, PhD

Dr. Gretchen Kerr, PhD

Working with Dr. Tamminen:
Sina Azimi, PhD student  -  Sina is a first year doctoral student. His research examines the influence of group-based reflection on parent-coach relationship in youth high performance sports. His research interests include parents’ communication behaviour, reflective practice, youth sport, parent-athlete interactions, and parent-coach interactions.

E:  Twitter: @SinAzimi

Jamie Bissett, MSc Student  -  Jamie is a second-year master's student. His research explores how university coaches handle the disclosure of student-athlete mental health challenges and asses whether coaches feel prepared to handle these disclosures. 


Devin Bonk, MSc Student  -  Devin Bonk is a second-year master’s student. His research interests include rituals, stress, coping, and emotion regulation, and how these processes unfold in both traditional and eSports settings.

E:  Twitter: @devinbonk

Rachel Dunn, PhD Student - Rachel is a first year PhD student. Her research interests are the experiences of youth athletes and parents during sporting transitions and the role of cannabidiol (CBD) in the prevention and recovery from sport-related concussion. 

E:  Twitter: @RachelC_Dunn

Zoë Poucher, PhD student  -  Zoë's research explores the psychosocial wellbeing of Canadian high performance athletes. Her other research interests include athletic identity, social support in sport, coach-athlete relationships, organizational stressors in sport, and the socialization of athletes. 

E:  Twitter: @Zoe_Poucher

Working with Dr. Kerr:
Jenessa Banwell, PhD student  -  Jenessa Banwell’s research critically explores the underrepresentation of women in coaching across Canada. Her work focuses on how women pursuing a career in coaching can be better supported through the use of strategic mentorship. Her research examines mentorship programming, both within and outside of the sport domain, to better understand how women coaches can be developed and advanced through mentorship.

Anthony Battaglia, PhD student  -  Anthony Battaglia is a second year doctoral student. His current research interests for his doctoral studies include exploring youth athletes’ developmental needs and dropout experiences in youth sport. Anthony is also conducting research examining punitive coaching behaviours and the impact of these tactics on the nature and quality of athletes’ sport experiences.

Elaine Cook, PhD student  - Elaine is passionate about action research, where research becomes a collaborative and transformative practice. In particular, she is curious to learn how a model of humanistic psychology, known as solution-focused coaching, might help to enhance the communication and coaching skills of elite coaches and as a result, enhance the self-actualizing tendencies of their athletes. 

Joseph Gurgis, PhD student  -  Joseph is interested in behaviour management in sport, including the punitive use of exercise, benching, and yelling, as well as the use of more pedagogical, disciplinary strategies, such as positive reinforcement. I am also interested in designing and evaluating coach education programmes.

Ellen MacPherson, PhD student  -  Ellen’s research interests centre on relationships in the sport context, including fan-athlete relationships on social media, the influence of peers on psychosocial development and athletes’ experiences of peer-to-peer bullying. Ellen currently holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Scholarship.

Erin Wilson, M.Sc., PhD student. 

Jamie Bissett 

Kaleigh Ferdinand Pennock, MSc

Kyle Farwell

Constance Harris

Connie Gozzard

Razan Sarsour

Recent Funding 

  1. Tamminen, K. A., Wagstaff, C., Danyluck, C., Wolf, S., & McEwen, C. (2018-2022. Interpersonal emotion regulation in sport. SSHRC Insight Grant (value: $131, 672) and Sport Participation Research Initiative Grant (value: $20,000). 

  2. Tamminen, K. A. (2016). Developing the University of Toronto Sport and Performance Psychology Lab. Canadian Foundation for Innovation – John R. Evans Leaders Fund (total project costs: $153,365).

  3. Tamminen, K. A. (2016-2021). Improving emotion regulation and coping among youth sport and competitive athletes. Province of Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation: Early Researcher Award (value: $150,000)

  4. Kerr, G. & Stirling, A. (2019-2024). Preventing and addressing gender-based violence in sport: The health perspective program. Coaching Association of Canada. ($373,200). 


  1. Bonk, D., LePrince, C., Doron, J., & Tamminen, K. A. (2019). Collective rituals in team sports: Implications for team resilience and communal coping. Movement & Sport Sciences - Science & Montricité - Special Issues on Emotions and Regulation within Interpersonal and Intergroup Sport Contexts.  doi:10.1051/sm/2019007
  2. Braun, C., & Tamminen, K. A. (2019). Interpersonal emotion regulation among individual varsity sport coaches and their athletes. Movement & Sport Sciences - Science & Montricité - Special Issues on Emotions and Regulation within Interpersonal and Intergroup Sport Contexts. doi:10.1051/sm/2019011 
  3. Poucher, Z. A., Tamminen, K. A., & Kerr, G., (2018). Providing social support to female Olympic athletes. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 40(40). doi:10.1123/jsep.2018-0008
  4. Tamminen, K. A., & Poucher, Z. (2018). Open science in sport and exercise psychology: Review of current approaches and considerations for qualitative inquiry. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 36, 17-28. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.12.010
  5. Tamminen, K. A., Poucher, Z., & Povilaitis, V. (2017). The car ride home: An interpretive analysis of parent-child sport conversations. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 6(4), 325-339. doi:10.1037/spy0000093
  6. Palmateer, T., & Tamminen, K. A. (2017). A case study of interpersonal emotion regulation among a varsity volleyball team. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 30, 321-340. doi:10.1080/10413200.2017.1367335
  7. Povilaitis, V., & Tamminen, K. A. (2017). Delivering positive youth development at a residential summer sport camp. Journal of Adolescent Research, 33, 470-495.  doi:10.1177/0743558417702478
  8. Tamminen, K. A., & Bennett, E. (2017). No emotion is an island: an overview of theoretical perspectives and narrative research on emotions in sport and physical activity. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 9, 183-199. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2016.1254109
  9. Tamminen, K. A., Palmateer, T. M., Denton, M., Sabiston, C., Crocker, P. R. E., Eys, M., & Smith, B. (2016). Exploring emotions as social phenomena among Canadian varsity athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 27, 28-38. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2016.07.010
  10. Tamminen, K. A., Gaudreau, P., McEwen, C. E., & Crocker, P. R. E. (2016). Interpersonal emotional regulation among adolescent athletes and their teammates: A Bayesian multilevel model of sport enjoyment and commitment. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 38, 541-555. doi:10.1123/jsep.2015-0189
  11. Tamminen, K. A., McEwen, C. E., & Crocker, P. R. E. (2016). Perceptions matter: Parental support, pressure, and the socialization of adolescent athletes’ coping. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 47(4), 335-354.
  12. Tamminen, K. A., & Crocker, P. R. E. (2013). “I control my own emotions for the sake of the team”: Emotional self-regulation and interpersonal emotion regulation among female high-performance curlers. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14, 737-747. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2013.05.002
  13. Tamminen, K. A., & Holt, N. L. (2012). Adolescent athletes' learning about coping and the roles of parents and coaches. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 13, 69-79. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.07.006
  1. Tamminen, K. A. & Poucher, Z. A. (accepted). Research philosophies. In D. Hackfort & R. Schinke (Eds.), The Routledge international encyclopedia of sport and exercise psychology (Section on Measurement and Evaluation; Section Editors: C. Sabiston & T. Curran).
  2. Ferdinand-Pennock, K., Tamminen, K. A., & Mainwaring, L. (accepted). Qualitative research in sport concussions. In G. Bloom & J. Caron (Eds.), Psychological aspects of sport-related concussions. Routledge.
  3. Tamminen, K. A., & Braun, C. (2017). Psychological considerations among adolescent athletes. The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.013.178
  4. Tamminen, K. A.,& Neely, K. C. (2016). Positive growth in sport. In N. L. Holt, Positive youth development through sport (2nd ed., pp. 193-204). London: Routledge.
  5. Crocker, P. R. E., Tamminen, K. A., & Bennett, E. (2017). Stress, emotions, and coping in youth sport. Sport psychology for  young athletes (pp. 164-173). In C. J. Knight, C. G. Harwood, & D. Gould (Eds.), New York: Routledge.
  6. Tamminen, K. A., & Gaudreau, P. (2014). Coping, social support, and emotion regulation in teams. In M. R. Beauchamp & M. A. Eys (Eds.), Group dynamics in exercise and sport psychology: Contemporary themes (2nd ed., pp. 222-239). New York: Routledge.


KPE Faculty

  • Professor, Athlete Maltreatment
  • Vice Dean of Programs, School of Graduate Studies
  • Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Vice Dean, Academic Affairs