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:

Rowena Cai, MSc Student - Rowena is a first-year MSc student. Her research examines coping flexibility among competitive athletes and how it contributes to coping effectiveness. 


Guner Buket Saka, MSc Student - Buket is a first-year MSc student. Her research interests include psychological flexibility, stress, coping, and emotion regulation in sports.


Chloe Ellard, MSc Student - Chloe is a first-year MSc student. Her research focuses on athlete mental health and well-being. Her other research interests include the high school to university transition, identity, and contingent self-worth. 


Kirsten Hutt, MSc Student - Kirsten is a second-year MSc student. Her research focuses on how injured female athletes and their physiotherapists/athletic therapists interact during the injury rehabilitation process, and how these interactions impact this overall process.


J'mi Worthern, PhD Student - J'mi is a first-year PhD student. Her research interests include perfectionism, burnout, emotion regulation, coaching styles, stress, coping, and how these factors contribute to the overall well-being of athletes and their sporting environment.


Devin Bonk, PhD Candidate  -  Devin is a fourth-year PhD candidate. 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, Postdoctoral Fellow - Rachel's research interests include the experiences of athletes and parents in youth sport, and how athletes navigate phases of transition in sport. 

E:  Twitter: @RachelC_Dunn

Jordan Sutcliffe, Postdoctoral Fellow - Jordan’s research interests include emotion regulation, family dynamics, and positive youth development in sport and physical activity contexts. His current projects examine how family members help youth athletes regulate emotional experiences. 


Working with Dr. Kerr:
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. 

Kaleigh Ferdinand Pennock, MSc

Kyle Farwell

Constance Harris

Connie Gozzard

Razan Sarsour

Sara Sutherland 

Recent Funding 

  1. Tamminen, K. A., & Watson, J. (2022 - 2024). Improving emotion dysregulation, psychosocial functioning, and performance satisfaction among competitive athletes. SSHRC Insight Development Grant (value: $62,939).

  2. Walton, C., Tamminen, K. A., Frost, J., Rice, S., Purcell, R., Kim, J., Henderson, J., & Kerr, G. (2021 - 2022). Supporting elite youth athlete mental health: Understanding environmental factors and developing optimal models of care. Melbourne-Toronto Joint Research Program (15,205 AUD + 14,972 CAD).

  3. 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). 


  1. Kim, J., Tamminen, K. A., Bissett, J. E., Danyluck, C., Wolf, S. A., McEwen, C., & Wagstaff, C. R. D. (2023). “I hate it when that happens too!”: Observed and perceived exchanges of social support between university student-athletes during discussions of stressors. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Advance online publication.
  2. Tamminen, K. A., Wolf, S. A., Dunn, R., & Bissett, J. (2022). The interpersonal experience, expression, and regulation of emotions in sport: A systematic search and review of the literature. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology.
  3. Tamminen, K. A., & Watson, J. C. (2022). Emotion focused therapy with injured athletes: Conceptualizing injury challenges and working with emotions. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 34(5), 958-982, doi:
  4. Tamminen, K. A., Lau, M., & Milidragovic, J. (2022). “It’s easier to just keep going”: Elaborating on a narrative of forward momentum in sport. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health.
  5. 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
  6. Tamminen, K. A., Bundon, A., McDonough, M., Smith, B., Poucher, Z. A., & Atkinson, M. (2021). Considerations for making informed choices about engaging in open qualitative research. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health, 13(5), 864-886.
  7. Tamminen, K. A., Bissett, J., Azimi, S., & Kim, J. (2021). Parent and child car-ride interactions before and after sport competitions and practices: Video analysis of verbal and non-verbal communication. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 58, 102095
  8. Tamminen, K. A., Kim, J., Danyluck, C., McEwen, C., Wagstaff, C. R. D., & Wolf, S. (2021). The effect of self- and interpersonal emotion regulation on athletes’ anxiety and goal achievement in competition. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 57, 102034 (special issue on Emotions in Sport).
  9. Dunn, R., Kim, J., Poucher, Z. A., Ellard, C., & Tamminen, K. A. (2021). A qualitative study of social media and electronic communication among Canadian adolescent female soccer players. Journal of Adolescent Research.
  10. 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
  1. Tamminen, K. A., & Kim, J. (forthcoming). Emotion regulation in sport. In J. Gross & B. Ford (Eds.), Handbook of emotion regulation (3rd ed.).
  2. Tamminen, K. A. & Didymus, F. (forthcoming). Stress, emotions, coping, and emotion regulation. In L. Davis, R. Keegan, & S. Jowett (Eds.), Social psychology of sport. Human Kinetics.
  3. Tamminen, K. A. (2021). Coping. In R. Arnold & D. Fletcher (Eds.), Stress, well-being, and performance in sport. Routledge.
  4. Wagstaff, C., & Tamminen, K. A. (2021). Emotion. In R. Arnold & D. Fletcher (Eds.), Stress, well-being, and performance in sport. Routledge.
  5. Tamminen, K. A., & Neely, K. (2020). We’re in this together: Dyadic and interpersonal aspects of emotions, coping, and emotion regulation in sport. In M. Ruiz & C. Robazza (Eds.), Routledge Psychology of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity Series –  Feeling states and sports performance: Implications for research and practice. Routledge.
  6. Tamminen, K. A. & Poucher, Z. A. (2020). Research philosophies. In D. Hackfort & R. Schinke (Eds.), The Routledge international encyclopedia of sport and exercise psychology (vol.1: Theoretical and methodological concepts). Routledge.


KPE Faculty

  • Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Sport Psychology
  • Vice Dean, Programs
  • Associate Professor, Sport Psychology
  • Associate Dean, Graduate Education
  • Dean and Professor, Athlete Maltreatment