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


    Physical Activity and Chronic Pain Workshops in Saskatoon

    Do you have chronic pain, are a significant other of someone with chronic pain, or can provide community-based physical activity and/or related education on being active with pain? Do you live in the Saskatoon area? As part of our Community Initiatives Fund grant, we are running workshops on November 2 in Saskatoon. We are going to be discussing chronic pain, physical activity, related education (like how to be active when in pain). If you are interested in attending, please email us at - We will keep you informed of the exact time and location that the workshops will take place. 

    Thank you to the wonderful people of Meadow Lake, Humboldt, and the surrounding areas for attending our chronic pain and physical activity workshops already this year.  We had about 40 people who had chronic pain, were a significant other, or worked in the health or exercise profession participate in our workshops. We had some great discussions and look forward to sharing our findings later this year!




    #Flora, P.K., Brawley, L.R., *Sessford, J.D., *Cary, M.A., & Gyurcsik, N.C. (2015). Predicting planned physical activity of individuals with arthritis: A self-regulatory perspective. Journal of Health Psychology.

    *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


    Gyurcsik, N.C., Tupper, S.M., and 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. (2012-2015). 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. 

    Gyurcsik, N.C., Brawley, L.R., Chad, K., & Spink, K. (2005 – 2010). Enhancing self-efficacy to cope with barriers: Facilitating decisions to perform regular physical activity among individuals with arthritis. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Purpose: To promote regular physical activity participation among women with arthritis using an innovative theory-driven approach. To achieve this objective, the research, involving four studies, examined theory-based, activity-specific psychosocial factors important for physical activity adherence, such as perceived barriers, self-regulatory efficacy to overcome barriers and to schedule, and attributions, as well as disease-specific psychosocial factors, such as pain intensity, pain acceptance, and illness beliefs. 

    Graduate Students

    Miranda A. Cary:

    Miranda is a current PhD student and former MSc student of Dr. Gyurcsik. Miranda is embarking upon 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 has also served as a Project Coordinator (CIHR-SHRF grant) and a Research Assistant (Community Initiatives Fund) 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. 

    Jocelyn E. Blouin:

    Jocelyn is a current MSc student and former undergraduate Honours student of Dr. Gyurcsik. Jocelyn is actively engaged in deriving a thesis research question. Stay tuned for further updates on Jocelyn's selected area of research interest in the broad area of exercise psychology. Jocelyn has presented research at scientific conferences and has served as a Research Assistant on our CIHR-SHRF grant. 

    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.