Picture of Dr. Leah Ferguson

Dr. Leah Ferguson PhD Associate Professor

PAC 313

Research Area(s)

  • Sport Psychology
  • Indigenous Wellness
My research areas fall under the following College of Kinesiology research themes: Indigenous Wellness, Child and Youth Health and Development, Human Performance

Academic Background

  • Ph.D. Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, 2014
  • M.Sc. Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, 2009
  • B.A. (Honours) Psychology, University of Saskatchewan, 2007

Courses Taught

  • KIN 122.3 - Social Behavioral Foundations of Physical Activity
  • KIN 306.3 - Introduction to Indigenous Wellness
  • KIN 380.3 - Research Methods in Kinesiology
  • KIN 431.3 - Mental Training for Sport and Physical Activity
  • KIN 807.3 - Research Methods in Kinesiology
  • GSR 982 - Mentored Teaching

Prospective Graduate Students

Prospective students interested in pursuing a research graduate degree in the areas of sport, health, and exercise psychology or Indigenous wellness should contact Dr. Ferguson and provide: (a) a brief summary of prior research experience; (b) an expression of interest in pursuing graduate studies; and, (c) unofficial transcripts. 

Select Recent Publications

  • Ferguson, L. J., Girolami, T., Thorstad, R., Rodgers, C. D., & Humbert, M. L. (2021). “That’s what the program is all about . . . building relationships”: Exploring experiences in an urban offering of the Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program in Canada. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, 733. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020733
  • Eke, A. O., Adam, M. E. K., Kowalski, K. C., & Ferguson, L. J. (2020). Narratives of adolescent women athletes' body self-compassion, performance, and emotional well-being. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health, 12, 175-191. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2019.1628805
  • Ironside, A. Ferguson, L. J., Katapally, T. R., & Foulds, H. J. A. (2020). Cultural connectedness as a determinant of physical activity among Indigenous adults in Saskatchewan. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 45, 937-947. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2019-0793
  • Moore, S. A., Faulkner, G., Rhodes, R. E., Brussoni, M., Chulak-Bozzer, T., Ferguson, L. J., Mitra, R., O’Reilly, N., Spence, J. C., Vanderloo, L. M., & Tremblay, M. S. (2020). Impact of the COVID-19 virus outbreak on movement and play behaviours of Canadian children and youth: A national survey. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 17, 85. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-00987-8
  • Crozier, A. J., Mosewich, A., D., & Ferguson, L., J. (2019). The company we keep: Exploring the relationship between perceived teammate self-compassion and athlete self-compassion. Psychology of Sport & Exercise, 40, 152-155.
  • Ferguson, L., Epp, G. B., Wuttunee, K., Dunn, M., McHugh, T.-L., & Humbert, M. L. (2019). “It’s more than just performing well in your sport.  It’s also about being healthy physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually”: Indigenous women athletes’ meanings and experiences of flourishing in sport. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 1, 1-19. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2018.1458332
  • Johnson, S. R., Poudrier, J., Foulds, H., & Ferguson, L. J. (2019). Striving for authenticity: Embracing a decolonizing approach to research with Indigenous athletes. In J. Markides, & L. Forsythe (Eds.), Research Journeys in/to Multiple Ways of Knowing (pp. 275-286). New York, DIO Press Inc.
  • Mosewich, A. D., Ferguson, L. J., McHugh, T.- L., & Kowalski, K .C. (2019). Enhancing capacity: Integrating self-compassion in sport. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, advance online publication. doi:10.1080/21520704.2018.1557
  • Reis, N. A., Kowalski, K. C., Mosewich, A. D., & Ferguson, L. J. (2019). Self-compassion and versions of masculinity in men athletes. Journal or Sport & Exercise Psychology, 41, 368-379.
  • Roberts, C.-M., Ferguson, L., & Mosewich, A. (2019). The psychology of the female sport performance. In J. Forsyth, & C.-M. Roberts (Eds.), The exercising female: Science and its application (pp. 175-186). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Barnes, A., Adam, M. E. K., Eke, A. O., & Ferguson, L. J. (2018). Exploring the emotional experiences of young women with chronic pain: The potential role of self-compassion. Journal of Health Psychology, advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1359105318816509
  • Katapally, T. R., Bhawra, J., Leatherdale, S., Ferguson, L., … & Osgood, N. (2018). The SMART study: A mobile health and citizen science methodological platform for active living surveillance, integrated knowledge translation and policy interventions. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 4, e31. doi:10.2196/publichealth.8953
  • Killham, M. E.,Mosewich, A. D., Mack, D. E., Gunnell, K., & Ferguson, L. J. (2018).  Women athletes’ self-compassion, self-criticism, and perceived sport performance. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. doi: 10.1037/spy0000127
  • Kowalski, K. C., McHugh, T.-L. F., Sabiston, C. M., & Ferguson, L. J. (2018). Research Methods in Kinesiology. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.
  • Tarasoff, L., Ferguson, L. J., & Kowalski, K. C. (2017). Self-compassion in an evaluative dance environment. University of Saskatchewan Undergraduate Research Journal, 3, 1-11.

Research Funding

Principal Investigator

  • Title: Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program in Saskatchewan
    Agency: Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Partnership Grant
    Timeline: 2019-2023

Co-Principal Investigator

  • Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Keith Carlson and Dr. Leah Ferguson
    Title: Sport History of the Indigenous Games 
    Agency: Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame – Sport History Project Grant
    Timeline: 2020-2021
  • Co-Principal Investigators: Dr. Heather Foulds and Dr. Leah Ferguson
    Title: Journeying Together to Co-Create a Foundation for Indigenous Sport Research
    Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Exchange Grant
    Timeline: 2019-2022
  • Nominated Principal Investigator: Dr. Jonathan McGavock (University of Manitoba)
    Title: Deepening the roots of living in a good way for Indigenous Children. The Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program
    Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research Team Grant: Pathways Implementation Research Team – Component 3
    Timeline: 2018-2023

Professional Affiliations

Scholarly Societies

  • North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA)
  • International Society of Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (QRSE)
  • Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology (SCAPPS)


  • Mental Performance Consultant, Sport Medicine & Science Council of Saskatchewan

Research Affiliations

  • ParticipACTION Research Advisory Group, member
  • Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) Affiliated Research Alliance, member
  • Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre, Research Affiliate