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Our Team


Meghan McDonough

Meghan McDonough

Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology

The Relationships and Exercise Lab is led by Dr. Meghan McDonough, Ph.D. (University of British Columbia). Her research examines the role of social relationships in physical activity and health behavior. Her research is informed by theoretical and empirical work on emotional and motivational processes, coping with stress, posttraumatic growth, and self-perceptions. McDonough's research has examined these questions in a variety of populations, with a particular focus on aging, populations navigating chronic disease (particularly cancer and Parkinson’s disease), and underserved or marginalized populations. Her research has been funded by a variety of sources including SSHRC, CIHR, NIH, USDA, the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, and the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging. She teaches undergraduate courses in exercise and health psychology (KNES 397) and motivation (KNES 413), and a graduate course in qualitative analysis (KNES 610). She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, a board member of the International Society for Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, and is the past-president of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. Meghan may be contacted at, or (403) 220-7211.


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Vanessa Paglione

Vanessa Paglione completed her M.Sc. in Kinesiology (specialization in health, exercise, and sport psychology), supervised by Dr. Sarah Kenny and Dr. Meghan McDonough. Her thesis examined the benefits of community dance for older adults. Vanessa has also supported research which explored how to implement community dance programs for this population. Vanessa is also an active teacher in the Calgary dance community. Vanessa’s current research coordinator work for the Relationship and Exercise lab focuses on a study aiming to understand how instructors can increase support within the context of group physical activity. Vanessa may be contacted at


Andrea Downie

Andrea Downie

Andrea Downie is a Ph.D. Candidate supervised by Dr. Sarah Kenny and Dr. Meghan McDonough. She received her M.A. in Dance Studies and B.F.A.(Hons) in Dance Performance from York University. Her doctoral research explores the role of dance science and social somatics in embodied learning and experiences in contemporary dance contexts. Andrea is also a sessional instructor in the Dance Program at University of Calgary, a founding member and Past President of Healthy Dancer Canada, and a registered provider of the Healthy Dance Certificates through Safe in Dance International. Andrea may be contacted at

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Bobbie-Ann Craig

Bobbie-Ann Craig is a PhD student supervised by Drs. Meghan McDonough and Sarah Kenny. She received her M.Sc in Health, Exercise, and Sport Psychology from the University of Calgary (under the supervision of Dr. McDonough), and her B.Sc. in Psychology with a minor in Business from the University of Alberta. Her doctoral research will identify and develop evidence-based strategies for supporting adult populations in physical activity, and examine the association between self-compassion and social support in the adult physical activity context, focusing on self-compassion as a resource fitness professionals can use to enhance the provision and facilitation of social support. Bobbie-Ann may be contacted at

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Niana Lavallée

Niana Lavallée is a M.Sc. student supervised by Dr. Meghan McDonough and Dr. Sarah Kenny. She received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in psychology and sociology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Her thesis work examines social connections predicting physical activity and psychological well-being trajectories among adults aged 55 and older. Niana may be contacted at

A headshot of Mahrukh smiling at the camera in the relationships and exercise lab.

Mahrukh Tanweer

Mahrukh is currently in her fourth year of Undergraduate studies in Kinesiology with a major in Motor and Psychosocial Aspects of Movement and a minor in Management. She received a 10-month research scholarship for her project looking at the social experiences of Pakistani older adults in physical activity settings, and how these experiences may be influenced by language, age, gender, culture and religion. A fun fact about Mahrukh is that she speaks Urdu and is able to conduct interviews for this project in Urdu and/or English! Mahrukh may be contacted at

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Kaitlyn Sawford

Kaitlyn Sawford is a M.Sc. student supervised by Dr. Meghan McDonough. She received her B.Sc. in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary. Her thesis and the research she is supporting examine the shifts in social outcomes, physical activity levels, and recreational program engagement among older adults before, during, and after COVID-19 restrictions. Kaitlyn may be contacted at"

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Khadija Ahmad

Khadija Ahmad is in her fourth year pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a specialization in Exercise and Health Physiology. She is actively engaged in her Honours project, conducted under the supervision of Dr. Meghan McDonough. Khadija's research focuses on exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the effects of recreation reopening, specifically examining the correlation between physical activity and social outcomes in older adults. This study underlines her commitment to understanding the complex interplay between health, exercise, and societal factors. Khadija may be contacted at

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Meghan Ingstrup

Meghan is a PhD student supervised by Dr. Meghan McDonough and Dr. Nick Holt. Her doctoral research will focus on parental influence on the stressors and coping mechanisms employed by youth athletes. A focus of her doctoral research will be to identify strategies that parents can employ to support psychological wellbeing and adaptive coping skills in youth sport. Meghan completed her M.A. at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Nick Holt and Dr. Amber Mosewich. She then completed her M.Sc. in Counselling Psychology at the University of Calgary supervised by Dr. Sal Mendaglio. Meghan has had the opportunity to work in a variety of research areas including the generational evolution and psychosocial impact of children’s free play; resiliency, social support, and coping for individuals with Parkinson’s disease; self-compassion development in women varsity athletes; self-compassionate responses for mothers of gifted children; exercise adherence programs for Mothers with gestational diabetes; and loose parts play interventions. Meghan can be contacted at

Former Lab Members


Janet Wong

Janet completed her M.Sc. in Sport, Exercise and Health Psychology at the University of Calgary in 2019 under the supervision of Dr. McDonough. Her thesis and the research she supported focused on understanding children and adolescents' social and physical interactions in physical activity-based recreation contexts, and how their interactions may impact their feelings of emotional safety and physical activity behaviour. Janet is currently a Strategy Liaison with the City of Calgary.

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Michelle Patterson

Michelle Patterson, M.Sc. (University of Calgary) is a previous research assistant in the Relationships and Exercise Lab. She received her Master of Science in Sport, Exercise and Health Psychology in the Faculty of Kinesiology under the supervision of Dr. McDonough. Her thesis examined experiences with body image and social support in physical activity programs among older adult women. In her research assistant role she supported projects related to physical activity and social outcomes for older adults. Michelle now works as a Health Services Coordinator with the Cancer Prevention and Screening Innovation team with Alberta Health Services.

Lindsay Morrison Portrait

Lindsay Morrison

Lindsay Morrison holds an M.Sc. Kinesiology specializing in health, exercise, and sport psychology from the University of Calgary under the supervision of Drs. Meghan McDonough and Sarah Kenny. She also holds a BKin in General Kinesiology and a BA in Dance from the University of Calgary. Lindsay’s research with older adults has focused on supporting active and healthy aging through engagement in group physical activity, examining social support in the group physical activity context, and supporting older adults’ physical literacy. Lindsay is interested in innovative and collaborative approaches to health promotion, supporting age-inclusivity initiatives, and exploring the benefits of community dance for older adults.


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Jessica Youngblood

Jessica is a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. She completed her Master’s of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary and her Bachelor’s of Health and Physical Education at Mount Royal University. Her research focuses on family perspectives related to adapted physical activity and innovative technologies that can aid in physical activity participation for children living with significant mobility impairments.

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Chantelle Zimmer

Chantelle Zimmer, PhD (University of Alberta) completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with Dr. Meghan McDonough. Her research examined social factors associated with physical activity in older adults, including sub-populations at increased risk of social isolation. Zimmer works at the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Her primary research interests are improving the social participation, social inclusion, health, and well-being of equity deserving populations. She uses a variety of theoretical frameworks as well as quantitative, qualitative, and review methodologies.

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Jayne Beselt

Jayne Beselt holds an MSc. in Sport, Exercise and Health Psychology from the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary while supervised by Dr. McDonough where she studied how older adults at increased risk of social isolation experience social support through physical activity. She worked as a Research Coordinator at the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging promoting aging research and education undertaken by faculties across the University of Calgary before moving to Ottawa where she now works as a Research Coordinator in the Equity in Health Systems Lab at the Bruyère Research Institute. 

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Delaney Duchek

Delaney Duchek completed her M.Sc. in Exercise Physiology in the Faculty of Kinesiology under the supervision of Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed. Her thesis examined participant perspectives during the transition from an in-person to an online exercise oncology program during COVID-19. Delaney is currently enrolled in the Cumming School of Medicine and will graduate in 2025.

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Jenna Magrath

Jenna Magrath completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology and Bachelor of Arts in Dance at the University of Calgary. She is currently working as a research assistant for Dr. Sarah Kenny examining what elements of a community dance program for people with Parkinson's disease (e.g., class content, instructor strategies, social interactions, music) contribute to participants' physical literacy, social connection and resilience.