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, MSc student  -  Sina is a first year master's student. His research examines how parental awareness of communication influences parent-athlete communication. His research interests include parents' communication behaviour, parent-athlete interactions, youth sport, reflective practice, and positive youth development.

Jamie Bissett, MSc Student  -  Jamie is a first-year master's student. His research interests include stress and coping mechanisms, the enjoyment of sport, and elite-level sport performance. 

Devin Bonk, MSc Student  -  Devin Bonk is a first-year master’s student. His research interests include rituals and collective action in sport, emotion regulation, group cohesion, and coaching.

Courtney Braun, MSc student  -  Courtney Braun is currently completing her master’s thesis looking at how coaches attempt to regulate their athletes’ emotions in the context of the coach-athlete relationship. Her research interests include emotion regulation, coaching, youth sport, and positive youth development. 

Asma Khalil, MSc student  -  Asma is a first year master's student. Her research explores the experiences of young Muslim women in sport. Her research interests include inclusion/alienation through sport, identity negotiation, and social support. 

Zoë Poucher, MSc student  -  Zoë's research explores the experiences of high performance athletes in elite sport. Her research interests include athletic identity, contingent self-worth, social support in sport, coach-athlete relationships, and the socialization of athletes. She will be starting her PhD in the fall, continuing to work under the supervision of Dr. Tamminen. 

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.

Rachel Jewett, MSc student  -  Rachel is a second year Masters student in sport psychology. Her research interests involve university and elite athlete mental health and well-being, including the relationship between the sport context and athletes’ experiences of mental health issues. Rachel is also conducting research examining athletes’ experiences with mental healthcare. When she completes her current degree, Rachel will be pursuing clinical psychology.

Julia Bamber
Shgufta Docter
Sarah Holman
Kyle Kokotailo
Konika Niramalanathan
Jasmin Romero

Recent Funding 

  1. 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).

  2. 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).

  3. Tamminen, K. A., & Smith, K. (2015-2016). Misery loves company: Exploring mixed martial artists’ experiences of pain with teammates and coaches. University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education SSHRC Institutional Grant ($1,450).

  4. Tamminen, K. A., Spence, J. C., & Cowie-Bonne, J. (2015). Evaluation of the ActiveAssist fee assistance program for individuals in low income. Ministry of Ontario Trillium Fund/Treasury Board Secretariat – Local Poverty Reduction Fund (value: $20,478).
  5. Tamminen, K. A., Sabiston, C., Eys, M., Smith, B. M., & Crocker, P. R. E. (2014-2016). Exploring communal coping and collective emotions in team sports. SSHRC Insight Development Grant ($74,823)
  6. Tamminen, K. A. (2014-2016). Testing a parent-child coping intervention for adolescent athletes. University of Toronto Connaught New Investigator Award ($10,000).
  7. Tamminen, K. A., Kerr, G., & Donnelly, P. (2014-2016) Potential for change? Exploring the culture of youth hockey. SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. (value: $91,360)


Tamminen, K. A., Poucher, Z. A., & Povilaitis, V. (accepted). The car ride home: An interpretive analysis of parent-child sport conversations. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology.

Povilaitis, V., & Tamminen, K. A. (2017). Delivering positive youth development at a residential summer sport camp. Journal of Adolescent Research. doi:10.1177/0743558417702478

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

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

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

Holt, N. L., Neely, K. C., Slater, L. G., Camiré, M., Côté, J., Fraser-Thomas, J., MacDonald, D., Strachan, L., & Tamminen, K. A. (2016). A model of positive youth development through sport based on results from a qualitative meta-study. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

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.

Tamminen, K. A., Witcher, C., Faulkner, G., & Spence, J. C. (2014). Examining the impact of microgrants in the promotion of physical activity among adolescents. BMC Public Health, 14:1206. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1206 (BMC highly accessed article)

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

Tamminen, K.A., Holt, N.L, & Neely, K. C. (2013). Exploring adversity and the potential for growth among elite female athletes. Psychology of Sport & Exercise,14, 28-36. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.07.002

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

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.

Tamminen, K. A., Kowalski, K., &Gaudreau, P. (2015). Stress, emotion, and coping. In P. R. E. Crocker (Ed.), Sport and exercise psychology: A Canadian perspective (3rd ed., pp.83-111). Toronto, ON: Pearson.

Crocker, P.R.E., Tamminen, K. A.,& Gaudreau, P. (2015). Coping in sport. In S. Hanton& S. Mellalieu (Eds.), Contemporary advances in sport psychology: A review (pp.28-67). New York: Routledge.

Tamminen, K. A.,& Crocker, P.R.E. (2014). Coping. In Eklund, R. E. &Tenenbaum, G. (Eds.).  Encyclopaedia of sport and exercise psychology (Vol 1: 176-180). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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
  • Vice Dean, Programs, School of Graduate Studies
  • Vice Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
  • Assistant Professor