Our Research

Research: Shane Sweet | Lindsay Duncan

Shane Sweet

Pillar 1: Understand

It is critical to understand the underlying concepts that predict physical activity and well-being before attempting to promote these outcomes. As a result, the focus of this pillar is to understand the psychosocial factors that predict physical activity and/or well-being. Research within each of the physical activity or well-being streams has been grounded in theory such as self-determination theory, self-efficacy theory and the health action process approach. The research consists of cross-sectional, prospective and experimental quantitative studies aimed to identify predictors of physical activity/well-being and qualitative studies that obtain the perspectives of specific groups on physical activity/well-being.

Examples of ongoing studies:

Physical activity stream: (a) Psychosocial predictors of physical activity for individuals who have completed cardiac rehabilitation; (b) Testing self-determination theory concepts in a set of experimental lab-based exercise studies.

Well-being stream: (a) Examining the role of spinal cord injury peer mentors on enhancing the lives of fellow peers with spinal cord injury; (b) Investigating the intersection between physical activity and eudaimonic (e.g., meaning) and hedonic (e.g., life satisfaction) well-being among cardiac rehabilitation participants. (c) Understanding social participation (i.e., engagement in daily and societal tasks) levels of adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.


Pillar 2: Promote

Pillar 2 focuses on promoting behaviours and enhancing well-being outcomes. Research within Pillar 2 can be informed from Pillar 1 studies or designed based on theoretical frameworks. In this pillar, promotion refers to any action taken to change behaviour or cognitions and has been organized by two streams: Persuasive messaging and intensive interventions.

Examples of ongoing studies:

Persuasive messaging stream: (a) Testing and comparing messages to reduce sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity; (b) Evaluating messages to promote physical activity action planning among inactive adults.

Intensive interventions stream: (a) A pilot randomized controlled trial on testing a self-determination theory-based tele-health intervention among adults with spinal cord injury.


Pillar 3: Engage

The engagement of consumers has become an integral part of research. Note that I am using the term “consumer” to represent any segment of the population that can (1) inform research, and (2) apply and use research findings which include all citizens, whether they are patients, healthy individuals, community organizations, researchers and/or health professionals. Therefore, this pillar focuses on two streams: consumer engagement and knowledge translation research.

Examples of ongoing studies:

Consumer engagement stream: (a) Examining the research and health care priorities of adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; (b) Obtaining the perspectives of spinal cord injury peer mentors and mentees on the importance of peer mentorship on their lives.

Knowledge translation research stream: In collaboration, evaluate (a) the Active Living Leaders Program, a Canada-wide physical activity training program for adults with a disability and (b) Praxis 2016, an international conference aimed to bridge knowledge translation gaps in spinal cord injury using the RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance).

Lindsay Duncan

Cancer Prevention & Suvivorship

Dr. Duncan is collaborating with a team of researchers from the McGill community to assess the effect of a tailored resistance exercise program on preventing bone loss, osteoporosis, and fragility fractures in premenopausal women treated for breast cancer.


Dr. Duncan collaborates with the play2PREVENT lab at Yale University on a research program that aims to harness videogame technology to create engaging and effective methods to teach skills and convey information that lead to health behaviour change. Currently, Dr. Duncan is developing an electronic prototype of a videogame intervention - designed as a downloadable mobile app to be played on smartphones or tablets - that focuses on preventing smoking among adolescents aged 11-14 years.


Doping (i.e., using performance-enhancing substances) in sport is a problem that can have serious physical, psychological, social, and moral consequences for athletes. Adolescent athletes aged 12 to 17 years are particularly vulnerable to initiating doping because as they often feel pressure to be bigger and stronger or to perform at a high level. To help prevent doping, sport organizations across the world have been developing resources and educational programs that inform adolescent athletes about the risks of doping. Dr. Duncan and her research team believe that in order to create the most effective anti-doping programs for adolescents, the programs need to be tailored specifically to adolescents. The overall goal of this research is to help determine the most effective ways to share information about doping with adolescent athletes in order to have an impact on doping prevention.

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