Skip to main content

Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.



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)

GDPA Lab Members

Mark Eys

Supervisor: Mark Eys  

Mark Eys (Ph.D.) is a Professor in the Departments of Kinesiology/Physical Education and Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, a Laurier Research Chair in Group Dynamics and Physical Activity, and a former Canada Research Chair (Tier II). He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo and his Master’s and Ph.D from The University of Western Ontario. From 2004-2009, he was a faculty member in the School of Human Kinetics at Laurentian University.

His current research interests include role commitment/acceptance in sport, the measurement and correlates of cohesion, and the application of group dynamics across contexts (sport, exercise, organizations). Research related to cohesion in youth physical activity groups was supported by a 3 year standard research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC; 2005-2008) and continued with support through Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award program (2007-2012). Funding from SSHRC also supported work related to understanding athlete perceptions of role commitment and acceptance (2013-2017). He has published his research in top sport and exercise psychology journals, as a co-author of the book Group Dynamics in Sport (2020; 5th edition; Fitness Information Technology), and as a co-editor of Group Dynamics in Exercise and Sport Psychology (2014; Routledge) and The Power of Groups in Youth Sport (2020; Academic Press/Elsevier). Finally, his most recent work focuses on the physical activity and social integration of New Canadians via a Partnership Development Grant (SSHRC 2019-2022) in collaboration with Laurentian University, Focus for Ethnic Women, KW Multicultural Centre, City of Kitchener, Region of Waterloo Public Health, and the Sun Life Financial Centre for Physically Active Communities.

Current Students


Taylor Coleman (Doctoral Student)

Taylor is a second year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Hailing from Riverview, New Brunswick, Taylor completed her B.Sc. at the University of Prince Edward Island with a major in Kinesiology. In 2019, Taylor completed her MKin at Laurier where she examined the relationship between cohesion and role commitment in youth sport. Taylor’s current research interests include parent influence on youth physical activity and sport experiences, physical activity programming for New Canadians, and group dynamics. In her free time, Taylor enjoys being outdoors (especially at the beach) and bouldering.


travis crickard
Travis Crickard (Doctoral Student)

Travis is a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. From St. John's, Newfoundland, Travis completed his B.Sc. at the State University of New York at Potsdam and his M.A. at the University of Ottawa where he explored the learning experiences of High-Performance hockey head coaches who played goaltender. Crickard's current research interests include coaching, coach learning, and how coach communication styles influence athlete and team outcomes. Travis played collegiate hockey while at Potsdam, has coached in the Canadian Hockey League and with the Canadian National U17 men's team. He enjoys spending time with his daughter and family, reading, and weight training.

Madeline Smith-Ackerl (Master's Student)

Madeline is a second year Master of Kinesiology student in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. From Edmonton, Alberta, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Alberta. Madeline is currently examining athletes’ perceptions of role significance in varsity sports. In her free time, Madeline enjoys hiking, running, and playing soccer.

vanessa karim
Vanessa Karim (Master's Student)

Vanessa is a first year Master’s student who completed her undergrad in Kinesiology at Laurier. She is interested in researching the effects of cultural diversity and gender on the individual athlete experience in a group setting. Vanessa is a second-generation Indo-Guyanese woman who prides herself in her culture seen through her previous work with the Caribbean Students Associations at Laurier and Georgia Southern University. She has a passion for sports and specialized in soccer. She also loves hiking, painting, and chicken nuggets. 

charlotte revell
Charlotte Revell (Master's Student)

Charlotte is a first year Master of Kinesiology student from Oakville, Ontario. She completed her undergraduate degree at Laurentian University within the School of Human Kinetics majoring in Sports Psychology. During her time at Laurentian, she completed a sports psychology internship with the Laurentian Varsity Baseball team under the supervision of Dr. Michel Larivière. In addition, she completed an undergraduate thesis with Dr. Randy Battochio focusing on e-mental health applications and the potential effects on student-athletes. Charlotte’s current research interests lie in group dynamics. Specifically, socialization and proactivity behaviours in team sport settings.


Michael Godfrey

Michael completed his Ph.D. at Laurier in 2020. Originally from the small town of Wallacetown, Ontario, Michael completed his undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of Windsor. Michael joined the Group Dynamics and Physical Activity Lab at Laurier in 2014 where he went on to complete his Master’s of Science that focused on the parental influence on role transmission processes in sport. Michael’s dissertation research focused on cultural diversity in sport and related group dynamics topics. Currently, Michael is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Windsor where his program of work is focused on developing innovative ways to address Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion-related issues in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). His initial research in this area is examining how the climate for LGBTQ+ people impacts their experiences and intentions to persist within STEM fields.


Erica McLean

Erica, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, completed her Masters degree in 2020. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at Dalhousie University, where she completed a thesis working with Dr. Lori Dithurbide. Erica examined the temporal shifts of cohesion and role clarity over the sport season. Furthermore, Erica competed on the ringette team at Wilfrid Laurier University and enjoys working with youth in both sport and exercise settings. Currently, Erica is completing an advanced nursing degree at Dalhousie University.


Jeemin Kim

Jeemin obtained his doctoral degree through the Kinesiology program in 2019, and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto (supervisor: Dr. Katherine Tamminen). He earned an Honour’s Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Psychology from McMaster University, and a Master of Arts degree in Sport Psychology with Dr. Gordon Bloom at McGill University. His doctoral work examined the antecedents and outcomes of informal roles (e.g., team comedians, mentors, distracters) in sport teams. He is also interested in how social norms relate to individuals’ physical activity. His current Postdoctoral work focuses on athletes’ interpersonal emotion regulation.


David Webster

David’s Master’s thesis involved examining the relationship between group cohesion in a sports context and the interaction of group testosterone and cortisol levels. David truly valued the experience he gained working with Dr. Mark Eys in the Group Dynamics and Physical Activity Laboratory, and will be pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Fall of 2019.


Brennan Petersen

Brennan completed his Master at Laurier in 2017. His Master's thesis explored how role conflict can affect other role perceptions while also proposing two new role conflict dimensions (i.e., role encroachment and role incompatibility). Brennan is currently completing his doctoral studies at Laurentian University with Rob Schinke, where he is studying the effects of the stigma surrounding mental health in sport on athletes' social relationships.


Alex Benson

He completed his PhD in Psychology in 2016, for which he was the recipient of the Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. Alex is now an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Western University and Director of the Group Experiences Laboratory. His lab is currently investigating how people differ in the roles they strive for and covet within teams and organizations, which traits people value in leaders and followers, and how leader-follower dynamics contribute to team and organizational functioning. In a separate line of inquiry, he is studying how organizations and teams can better structure the entry experiences of newcomers to optimize both individual-level and group-level outcomes. These projects are funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Mitacs.


Blair Evans

Blair explored group dynamics within individual sports teams as his dissertation, along with collaborations on broader topics related to groups and social cognition in exercise. He completed his PhD in Psychology at Laurier in 2014, for which he received the Gold Medal for the Faculty of Science. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Queen's University after leaving Laurier and obtained his first faculty position as an assistant professor at Penn State University. Blair is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Western University.

Eryn Jewitt

Eryn completed her Master of Science degree in Kinesiology, specializing in sport psychology at Laurier (2011). Since then, she has become a certified exercise psychologist (CSEP-CEP), and has experienced working for the Department of National Defence, Calgary Police Service, and the University of Calgary with various Canadian Tri-council Funding (i.e., SSHRC). Currently, Eryn is working at Mohawk college where she is teaching fitness assessments, exercise physiology, and sport and exercise psychology.

Amy Cubitt

Amy completed her Master's thesis in the summer of 2015. Her research involved youth competitive athletes and investigated athlete leaders’ use of transformational behaviours and its effect on trust in the leader. Amy is currently a personal trainer at LA Fitness. 

Theo Chu

Theo completed his Master's at Laurier in 2018. 

Pavol Siska

Pavol was a visiting researcher from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. 

Colin McLaren

Colin completed his Master's of Science in 2013 at Laurier. 

Robyn Murray

Robyn completed her Master of Science in 2013 and is now pursuing a career in physiotherapy.

Svenja Wolf

Svenja was a visiting researcher from the German Sport University Cologne, where she earned her Academic Diploma in Sport Science in 2009 and has been enrolled in the PhD program, supervised by Dr. Jens Kleinert since fall 2009.

Past Research

For a complete list of publications from 2001-present please use the following link:


Beauchamp, M.R., & Eys, M.A. (2014). Group dynamics in exercise and sport psychology (2nd edition). Oxford: Routledge.

Carron, A. V., & Eys, M. A. (2012). Group dynamics in sport (4th ed.).  Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

Book Chapters

Eys, M., Kim, J., & Godfrey, M. (submitted for publication). Group dynamics in sport and exercise. In M. H. Anshel (Ed.), APA handbook of sport and exercise psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Eys, M., & Kim, J. (2017). Team building and group cohesion in the context of sport and performance psychology. In E. Acevedo (Ed.), Oxford Encyclopedia of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.013.186

Eys, M., Surya, M., & Benson, A. J. (2017). Communicating within sport teams. In B. Jackson, J. Dimmock, & J. Compton (Eds.), Persuasion and communication in sport, exercise, and physical activity (pp. 217-232). Oxon, UK: Taylor and Francis.

Eys, M., & Evans, B. (2019). Group dynamics in sport, exercise, and physical activity contexts. In T. S. Horn & A. L. Smith (Eds.), Advances in sport and exercise psychology (4th ed.; pp. 171-188). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Eys, M., Loughead, T. M., & Godfrey, M (2017). Group cohesion and athlete development. In J. Baker, S. Cobley, J. Schorer, & N. Wattie (Eds.), Routledge handbook of talent identification and development in sport (pp. 301-311). Oxford: Routledge.

Role Related Research

Eys, M., Beauchamp, M. R., Godfrey, M., Dawson, K., Loughead, T. M., & Schinke, R. J. (in press). Role commitment and acceptance in a sport context. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Kim, J., Godfrey, M., & Eys, M. (in press). The antecedents and outcomes of informal roles in interdependent sport teams. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology.

Godfrey, M. & Eys, M. (in press). Parental involvement in the transmission and development of youth athletes’ role responsibilities. International Journal of Kinesiology in Higher Education.

Kim, J., Gardant, D., Bosselut, G., & Eys, M. (2018). Athlete personality characteristics and informal role occupancy in interdependent sport teams. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 39, 193-203.

Cohesion Research

Eys, M., & Brawley, L. R. (2018). Reflections on cohesion research with sport and exercise groups. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 12, e12379. DOI: 10.1111/spc3. 12379

Heuzé, J. P., Eys, M., Dubuc, M., Bosselut, G., & Couture, R. (2018). Cohesion, psychological needs, and intrinsic motivation in youth team sport context. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 49, 55-73.  

Promotion of Physical Activity and Health Research

Evans, M. B., Graupensperger, S. A., Benson, A. J., Eys, M., Hastings, B., & Gottschall, J. S. (in press). Groupness perceptions and basic needs satisfaction within fitness groups. Group Dynamics : Theory, Research, and Practice.

Kim, J., Eys, M., Robertson-Wilson, J., Dunn, E., & Rellinger, K. (2017). Subjective norms matter for physical activity intentions more than previously thought: Reconsidering measurement and analytical approaches. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 43, 359-367.

Kim, J., Dunn, E., Rellinger, K., Robertson-Wilson, J., & Eys, M. (2019). Social norms and physical activity in American and Canadian contexts : A scoping review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 12, 26-48

Evans, M. B., Graupensperger, S. A., Benson, A. J., Eys, M., Hastings, B., & Gottschall, J. S. (2019). Group structure and entitativity in group fitness : Considering groupness at within- and between-group levels. Psychology & Health, 34, 715-732.

Graupensperger, S. A., Gottschall, J. S., Benson, A. J., Eys, M., Hastings, B., & Evans, M. B. (2019). Perceptions of groupness during fitness classes positively predict recalled perceptions of exertion, enjoyment, and affective valence : An intensive longitudinal investigation. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology.

McKie, G. L., Islam, H., Townsend, L. K., Robertson-Wilson, J., Eys, M., & Hazell, T. J. (2018). Modified sprint interval training protocols: Physiological and psychological responses to four weeks of training. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 43, 595-601.

Robertson-Wilson, J., Eys, M., & Hazell, T. J. (2017). Commentary : Why sprint interval training is inappropriate for a largely sedentary population. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01603

Townsend, L. K., Islam, H., Dunn, E., Eys, M., Robertson-Wilson, J., & Hazell, T. J. (2017). Modified sprint interval training protocols Part II : Psychological responses. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 42, 347-353.

Other Research

Bruner, M.W., Eys, M. Carreau, J.M., McLaren, C., & Van Woezik, R. (in press). Utilizing the Team Environment AssessMent (TEAM) to enhance team building in sport. The Sport Psychologist.

Godfrey, M., Kim, J., Eluere, M., & Eys, M. (in press). Diversity in cultural diversity research : A scoping review. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Petersen, B., Eys, M., Watson, K., & Evans, M. B. (in press). Taking stock of youth sport group dynamics research : A scoping review. Kinesiology Review.

Eys, M., Bruner, M. W., & Martin, L. J. (2019). The dynamic group environment in sport and exercise. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 42, 40-47

Coholic, D., Dano, K., Sindori, S., & Eys, M. (in press). Group work in mindfulness-based interventions with youth: A scoping review [Special issue]. Social Work with Groups. DOI: 10.1080/01609513.2019.1571764

Martin, L. J., & Eys, M. (2019). Setting the conditions for success : A case study involving the selection process for the Canadian Forces Snowbird Demonstration Team. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 31, 116-133.

Coholic, D. A., Eys, M., McAlister, H., Sugeng, S., & Smith, D. (2018). A mixed method pilot study exploring the benefits of an arts-based mindfulness group intervention with adults experiencing anxiety and depression. Social Work in Mental Health, 16, 556-572.

Boroumand, S., Eys, M., & Benson, A. J. (2018). How status conflict undermines athletes’ willingness to help new teammates. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 358-365.

Benson, A. J., Bruner, M. W., & Eys, M. (2017). A social identity approach to understanding the conditions associated with antisocial behaviors among teammates in female teams. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 6, 129-142.

McEwan, D., Ruissen, G., Eys, M.A., Zumbo, B. D., Ruissen, G. R., & Beauchamp, M. R. (2017). The effectiveness of teamwork training on teamwork behaviors and team performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled interventions. PLoS ONE, 12(1) : e0169604. Doi : 10.1371/journal.pone.0169604


Group Dynamics and Physical Activity Laboratory

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

T: 519.884.0710 x4157


We see you are accessing our website on IE8. We recommend you view in Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE9+ instead.