Dr. J. Paige Pope Assistant Professor

J. Paige Pope
Dr. Paige Pope was born in Flesherton, ON and grew up in Caledon, ON. She attained a BA in Physical Activity and Kinesiology (2008) and MA (2010) at Brock University. Thereafter, she completed her PhD at Western University (formerly the University of Western Ontario), then began her post-doc fellowship at the University of Ottawa in 2015, and will be joining us as a tenure track Assistant Professor in July, 2016.

In general, Dr. Pope’s research interests revolve around identifying and implementing mechanisms that facilitate higher quality engagement in physical activity, in the form of sport or exercise. Her research interests have evolved over the years and reflect that of her own personal interest.  As an undergraduate/graduate student, she was a varsity rugby player and coach, with a research focus on(a) psychological processes (primarily identity and motivation) that guide coaches’ actions and (b) the relationship between perceived coaching styles with athletes’ motives and their performance. Upon completing her PhD, much like her own personal life, Dr. Pope’s research interests expanded to encompass leisure time physical activity and exercise as opposed to merely sport.

As a continuation of Dr. Pope’s post-doctoral fellowship, one of her current areas of research explores (a) how information conveyed in physical activity messages influence individuals’ attention to and preference for messages, and (b) how physical activity messages impact peoples’ motivation and desire to engage in physical activity. More specifically, guided by Self-Determination Theory and the Transtheoretical Model, Dr. Pope compares the effectiveness of messages that emphasize intrinsic (e.g., health, pleasure, or personal challenge) versus extrinsic (e.g., appearance, social comparison, or appealing to others) goals and reasons for engaging in physical activity.  Additionally, her research examines the effectiveness of tailoring messages to the individuals’ stage of change of physical activity.  The ultimate goal of this line of research is to inform future physical activity community-based programs by identifying the type of information that should be conveyed in persuasive communications to enhance self-determined forms of motivation and initiation and maintenance of physical activity.

A second research project that Dr. Pope is currently engaging in is a website – Sport Psychology for Coaches (http://sportpsychologyforcoaches.ca/) – which was developed by a multi-institutional team of scholars including Dr.’s Barbi Law (Nipissing University), Craig Hall (Western University), Melanie Gregg (University of Winnipeg), and Dr. Pope. The overall objective of this website was to provide coaches with a credible evidence-based free resource that would mitigate the barriers coaches face when they attempt to obtain sport psychology information (e.g., lack of time, money, accessibility to research publications, and ability to read and interpret scholarly papers). This website not only provides information and tips about sport psychology skills, but it also features activity worksheets (e.g., team goal setting) that coaches can print and use with their athletes, podcasts, and interactive opportunities with sport psychology consultants – through an ‘ask the expert’ section – and coaches, via the discussion forum.  The website founders are very excited to launch website (March, 2016), and plan to continually add to and update the information on the website and further develop various features of the website, such as adding interactive webinars and translating it to French.

Outside the academic setting, Dr. Pope enjoys engaging in the behaviours that she studies and tries to promote in her research. Although rugby was her passion in her high school and University years, she has since shifted to enjoying a more diverse selection of activities, including; kettlebells, running, volleyball, as well as skating, swimming, and boating with her husband & two year old son. Dr. Pope and her family are very excited to move to Lethbridge to enjoy all the amazing outdoor recreation activities that the area has to offer.

Paige will be teaching Psychological Perspective (KNES 2140) in the fall and spring of 2016/2017 academic year and Exercise Psychology (KNES 3780) in spring 2016/2017.  If you are an undergraduate or graduate student and you are interested in the areas of research that Dr. Pope specializes in, please contact her at dr.j.paige.pope@gmail.com as she is currently accepting students for supervision.