Picture of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dr. Nancy Gyurcsik

Dr. Nancy Gyurcsik PhD Professor

PAC 327

Research Area(s)

  • Social Psychology
  • Women's Health

Research Description

  • Social Psychology
  • Women's Health
  • Exercise Psychology
  • Psychosocial determinants of physical activity 
  • Self-regulation 
  • Positive psychology
  • Knowledge translation into communities

My broad area of expertise is in exercise psychology. The overall aim of my research is to help people start and maintain physical activity. To achieve this aim, I lead two lines of research. First, I identify psychosocial determinants of physical activity using a complementary approach. This includes a focus on self-regulatory factors (e.g., barriers, self-regulatory efficacy beliefs), chronic disease-related factors (e.g., pain intensity, depression), and/or positive psychology factors (e.g., acceptance, resiliency, psychological flexibility). This complementary perspective is unique, addressing real-world factors that work together to impact activity adherence. Second, I translate knowledge gained on determinants into community-based settings in order to help large numbers of people be more physically active. 

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 Humanities 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. We work together to identify research topics that solve real-world problems revolving around physical activity adherence. I also 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


Research News

Our research team was awarded two different grants that focus on helping exercise professionals work with clients who have chronic non-cancer pain. Funds were awarded the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and the Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Fund (CIF). Our team is diverse, being made up of faculty from Kinesiology (Dr.'s Gyurcsik, Brawley, Arnold), other U of S faculty (Dr.'s Downe and Hellsten), Saskatchewan Health Authority (Dr. Tupper), Colorado School of Public Health (Dr. Brittain), our community consultant, Mr. Don Ratcliffe-Smith, and our research assistants (Miranda Cary, Mackenzie Marchant, Jocelyn Blouin).

Our SHRF funding is for developing, testing, and refining an in-person workshop training on chronic pain and physical activity for exercise professionals. The goal is to increase professionals' chronic pain knowledge, reduce inaccurate beliefs about being active with chronic pain, and increase confidence to work with clients who have chronic pain. 

Our CIF funding is for developing and delivering an online version of our workshop training on chronic pain and physical activity. The goal is to train exercise professionals from across Saskatchewan. This will lincrease the provincial capacity of trained exercise professionals who can better help people who want to be more active to better manage their pain. 

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: http://cirpd.org/Webinars/Pages/Webinar.aspx?wbID=89


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


Example Publications

Brittain, D.R., Gyurcsik, N.C., Tupper, S.M., & Downe, P.J. (2018). Moving forward with physical activity: Self-management of chronic pain among women. Women’s Health Issues28(2), 113-116. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2017.12.006

*Blouin, J.E.& Gyurcsik, N.C. (2017). Managing exercise with another highly valued and conflicting leisure time goal. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research.doi: 10.1111/jabr.12113

*Sessford, J.D., Brawley, L.R., *Cary, M.A., #Flora, P.K., *Blouin, J.E., *Meade, L., Strachan, S.M., & Gyurcsik, N.C. (2017). Self-regulatory efficacy encourages exercise persistence despite arthritis flare symptoms. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 9(3), 285-302. doi: 10.1111/aphw.12092 

*Cary, M.A., Brittain, D.R., & Gyurcsik, N.C. (2017). Differences in psychosocial responses to pain between sufficiently and insufficiently active adults with arthritis. Psychology and Health, 32(7), 765-780. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2017.1300258, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2017.1300258

* = 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 (CIF). 

Funding Examples

Gyurcsik, N.C., Tupper, S.M., Arnold, B.E., Brawley, L.R., Brittain, D.R., Downe, P.J., & Hellsten, L.M. (2017 – 2018). Exploring the effectiveness of an in-person integrated counselling training module to increase exercise providers' knowledge and beliefs to instruct and educate Saskatchewan adults with chronic non-cancer pain. Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), Collaborative Innovation Development Grant. Purpose: To develop, test, and refine an exercise provider integrated counselling training module on chronic pain and exercise. 

Gyurcsik, N.C.,Tupper, S.M., Brittain, D.R., & Brawley, L.R. (2018).Building a sustainable model to deliver chronic pain and exercise leadership training for Saskatchewan fitness professionals. Saskatchewan Community Initiatives Fund, Community Grants. Purpose: To design and deliver a sustainably offered online workshop training on physical activity and chronic pain to Saskatchewan fitness professionals. 

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 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 PHD student and former Masters student of Dr. Gyurcsik. Jocelyn is currently developing her program of dissertation research.

Mackenzie Marchant:

Mackenzie is a MSc student investigating psychosocial factors involved in the long-term maintenance of physical activity among adults. 

Graduate Training Opportunities

Interested in pursuing a PhD or MSc with Dr. Gyurcsik in the area of exercise psychology? 

Do you have a broad interest helping people begin and maintain physical activity in order to achieve health benefits or better manage their chronic disease (e.g., arthritis, chronic pain, etc.)? 

Interested in identifying determinants of physical activity, with a focus on self-regulatory factors, positive psychological factors, and/or disease-related factors? 

Are you interested in translating reserach findings into programs offered in the community to help large groups of people be more active?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, send me an email (nancy.gyurcsik@usask.ca). Introduce yourself, including your general reserach interests and academic background that has prepared you to study exercise psychology.

You can also check out articles that our research group, including graduate students, have published. If accepted into the program, we will work together to identify a reseach topic that is meaningful to you and that will contribute to what is known about helping people become more physically active.