Nancy Gyurcsik

    Dr. Nancy Gyurcsik


    Contact Information

    PAC 327
    (306) 966-1075

    Research Areas

    My broad area of expertise is in exercise psychology. The overall aim of my research is to identify complementary theory-based psychosocial factors that impact adherence to physical activity. I am also interested in designing and testing theory-based interventions that target changes in problematic psychosocial factors in order to enhance adherence and, in turn, health and well-being. I have expertise in studying psychosocial predictors of adherence among healthy individuals as well as individuals with chronic disease. I am especially interested in adults with arthritis or, more broadly, adults with chronic pain. Public health recommendations are that adults should engage in at least 150 minutes each week of moderate to vigorous activity. However, individuals with chronic disease often times struggle to meet this recommendation, thereby not achieving both health and disease self-management benefits. Thus, identifying psychosocial factors that differentiate adults with chronic disease who are more or less active is one area of focus. I investigate activity-related psychosocial factors (e.g., barriers, self-regulatory efficacy beliefs) and disease-specific factors (e.g., pain acceptance). This complementary perspective is unique, addressing real-world factors that work together to impact activity adherence.

    My research program has been supported, in part, by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), the Social Sciences and Humanites Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Fund. I have an active research lab, with undergraduate and graduate students being regularly engaged and successful across various research experiences. I work with internationally recognized researchers in academic and community-based settings.

    Interested in Graduate Studies?

    If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies with Dr. Gyurcsik, please go to Graduate Training Opportunities for more information.

    Courses Taught

    • KIN 232.3 - Physical Activity in Society
    • KIN 830.3 - Psychosocial Aspects of Health and Exercise Behaviour

    Academic Background

    • PhD (Exercise Psychology), University of Waterloo
    • MSc (Sport Psychology), University of Windsor
    • BSc (Movement Sciences), University of Windsor


    Lab News

    We would like to welcome our newest lab group member - Mackenzie Marchant! Mackenzie is beginning her MSc program and joins us from the University of British Columbia Okanagan where she completed her undergraduate degree. 

    Webinar on Exercise and Chronic Pain

    If you are interested in viewing Dr. Gyurcsik's invited webinar by the Canadian Institute for the Relief of Pain and Disability on "Is exercising with chronic pain as easy as "Just do it?", follow this link:


    Our lab group is on social media:

    Follow Dr. Nancy Gyurcsik: @NancyGyurcsik on Twitter

    Follow Miranda Cary: @MirandaACary on Twitter

    Follow Jocelyn Blouin: @JBlouin16 on Twitter

    Follow Mackenzie Marchant: @MarchantMack on Twitter



    *Cary, M.A., Gyurcsik, N.C., & Brawley, L.R. (2015). Prediction of adaptive self-regulatory responses to arthritis pain anxiety in exercising adults: Does pain acceptance matter? Pain Research and Management, 20(2), 67-74. pii: 16545

    *Sessford, J.D., Brawley, L.R., & Gyurcsik, N.C. (2015). Examination of self-regulatory efficacy and pain among individuals challenged by arthritis flares. Rehabilitation Psychology, 60(1), 45-53. doi:

    Gyurcsik, N.C., *Cary, M.A., *Sessford, J.D., #Flora, P.K., & Brawley, L.R. (2015). Pain, pain anxiety, and negative outcome expectations for activity: Do negative psychological profiles differ between the inactive and active? Arthritis Care and Research, 67(1), 58-64. Note: The Editor selected our article to be published in this special issue on Mobility and Rheumatic Disease. Our article was one of 12 papers that were published.

    Gyurcsik, N.C., Brawley, L.R., Spink, K.S., & *Sessford, J.D. (2013). Meeting physical activity recommendations: Self-regulatory efficacy characterizes differential adherence during arthritis flares. Rehabilitation Psychology, 58(1), 43-58. doi: 10.1037/a0031293 

    *Fuller, D.L., Gyurcsik, N.C., Spink, K.S., & Brawley, L.R. (2012). Prospective examination of self-regulatory efficacy in predicting walking for active transportation: A social cognitive theory approach. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(12), 2917-2932. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00968.x 

    Arnold, C.M., & Gyurcsik, N.C. (2012). Risk factors for falls in older adults with lower extremity arthritis: A conceptual framework of current knowledge and future directions. Physiotherapy Canada, 64(3), 302-314. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2011-12BH

    Arnold, C.M., Faulkner, R.A., & Gyurcsik, N.C. (2011). The relationship between falls efficacy and improvement in fall risk factors following an exercise plus educational intervention for older adults with hip osteoarthritis. Physiotherapy Canada, 63(4), 410-420. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2010-29 

    Gyurcsik, N.C., Brawley, L.R., Spink, K.S., *Glazebrook, K.E., & *Anderson, T.J. (2011). Is level of pain acceptance differentially related to social cognitions and behavior? The case of active women with arthritis. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(3), 530-539. doi: 10.1177/1359105310394229 

    Brittain, D.R., Gyurcsik, N.C., McElroy, M., & Hillard, S.A. (2011). General and arthritis-specific barriers to moderate physical activity in women with arthritis. Women's Health Issues, 21(1), 57-63. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2010.07.2010

    * = Graduate student trainee. # = Postdoctoral fellow

    Complete Publication List

    Pub Med

    Google Scholar

    External Grant Funding

    Dr. Gyurcsik's research program has been funded by various organizations, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Social Sciencies and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), and Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Fund. 

    Funding Examples

    Gyurcsik, N.C., Tupper, S.M., & Brawley, L.R. (2016). Targeting physical activity service providers to enhance their programming and education for adults with chronic non-cancer pain. Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Fund. Purpose: To develop and test educational resources designed to enhance Saskatchewan community-based physical activity providers' knowledge about strategies to enhance their programming and education for adults with chronic non-cancer pain. 

    Gyurcsik, N.C., Tupper, S.M., & Brawley, L.R. (2015). Being physically active: Making it possible to better manage chronic pain. Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Fund. Purpose: To support adults/youth with chronic pain to be regularly active in their home and/or community. To identify gaps/needs in services and related education for those who provide physical activity and/or chronic pain support at home (e.g., significant others) and in the community (e.g., physical activity, recreation, and health providers/agencies; chronic disease organizations). 

    Gyurcsik, N.C., Brawley, L.R., Spink, K.S., & Strachan, S. (2012-2016). Managing arthritis using physical activity: Identifying disease- and activity-specific psychosocial beliefs to improve adherence. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Regional Partnership Program with the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) Operating Grant. Purpose: To identify key activity- and disease-specific psychosocial beliefs affecting adherence to the recommended dose of physical activity for arthritis management among adults and to predict their persistence in challenging contexts. 

    Graduate Students


    Miranda A. Cary:

    Miranda is a current PhD student and former MSc student of Dr. Gyurcsik. Miranda is conducting her dissertation-related program of research and is a highly decorated graduate student, being awarded a prestigous University of Saskatchewan PhD Dean's Award. She also served as a Project Coordinator (CIHR-SHRF grant) and a Research Assistant (Community Initiatives Funds) during her graduate studies in the College of Kinesiology. Miranda has numerous presentations at scientific conferences as well as an established record of refereed journal publications. 

    Miranda is currently conducting her dissertation research. Broadly, her focus is on psychosocial factors important for adults with chronic pain to engage in regular physical activity. 

    Jocelyn E. Blouin:

    Jocelyn is a current MSc student and former undergraduate Honours student of Dr. Gyurcsik. Jocelyn's thesis research is on how people manage to exercise when they have other leisure-time activities that they also plan to do. She is looking at a number of social cognitions, such as concurrent goals, self-regulatory efficacy, and outcome expectations and their relationships with exercise. Jocelyn is currently collecting data for her thesis research.

    Jocelyn has presented research at scientific conferences and has served as a Research Assistant on our CIHR-SHRF grant. 

    Mackenzie Marchant:

    Mackenzie is a current MSc student. She is currently engrossed in her coursework. In the coming months, Mackenzie will work with Dr. Brawley and Dr. Gyurcsik (co-supervisors) in determining a thesis research topic. We look forward to working with Mackenzie in deriving an interesting area of focus. 

    Graduate Training Opportunities

    Interested in pursing a PhD or MSc with Dr. Gyurcsik? 

    Do you have a broad interest in figuring out how we can help people be more physically active in order to achieve health benefits or better manage their chronic disease (e.g., arthritis, chronic pain, etc.)? 

    If you answered yes to both questions, check out the articles that our research group, including graduate students, have published. We investigate psychosocial factors that differentiate adults who are more or less active. We are also interested in intervening to help the less active enhance their physical activity levels. Please email Dr. Gyurcsik indicating your interest, background, qualifications, and unique qualities that you can offer as a member of our research group.