Picture of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dr. Leah Ferguson

Dr. Leah Ferguson PhD Assistant Professor

PAC 313

Research Area(s)

  • Sport Psychology
  • Indigenous Wellness

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 380.3 - Research Methods in Kinesiology
  • KIN 306.3 - Introduction to Indigenous Wellness
  • 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 area of sport, health, and exercise psychology or Indigenous wellness should contact Dr. Ferguson and provide a brief summary of prior research experience, an expression of interest in pursuing graduate studies, and unofficial transcripts. 

Recent Publications

  • 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.
  • Eke, A. O., Adam, M. E. K., Kowalski, K. C., & Ferguson, L. J. (2019). Narratives of adolescent women athletes' body self-compassion, performance, and emotional well-being. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health, advance online publication. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2019.1628805
  • 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
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • Ferguson, L. J., & Gunnell, K. E. (2016). Eudaimonic wellbeing: A gendered perspective. In J. Vitterso  (Ed.), Handbook of eudaimonic wellbeing. (pp. 427-436).  Switzerland: Springer.
  • Ferguson, L. J., & Philipenko, N. Y. (2016).“I would love to blast some pow music and just dance”: First Nations students’ experiences of physical activity on campus. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 8, 180-193.
  • Foulds, H. J. A., Rodgers, C. D., Duncan, V., & Ferguson, L. J. (2016). A systematic review of screen time behaviour among North American Indigenous populations. Obesity Reviews, 17, 455-466
  • Ferguson, L. J., Kowalski, K. C., Mack, D. E., & Sabiston, C. M. (2015). Self-compassion and eudaimonic well-being during emotionally difficult times in sport. Journal of Happiness Studies, 16, 1263-1280. 

Research Funding

Principal Investigator

  • Title: Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program in Saskatchewan
    Agency: Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Partnership Grant
    Timeline: 2019-2023
  • Title: Aboriginal Women Athletes’ Flourishing in Sport
    Agency: Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Establishment Grant
    Timeline: 2015-2019
  • Title: Self-compassion in Sport: Its Stability and Longitudinal Relationships with Young Women Athletes’ Performance and Eudaimonic Well-being
    Agency: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant
    Awarded: 2015

Co-Principal Investigator

  • 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: 2019-2021 
  • 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: 2018-2019 
  • 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


  • Aboriginal Physical Activity and Cultural Circle
  • Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology (SCAPPS)
  • North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA)
  • International Association of Applied Psychology


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


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