Grad Focus

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

Grad Focus

Lindsay Cline (PhD Behavioural & Population Health)

2013 SSHRC award recipient

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships — Doctoral

“The relationship between appearance commentary, positive body image and social behaviour”

My research focuses on the effect body image has on motivation to engage in regular physical activity. My PhD research project centres around an interpersonal body image variable, appearance commentary, which includes any verbal feedback one receives from others about their body. More specifically, my dissertation will investigate the impact positive appearance comments (i.e., compliments about physical appearance) have on body-related thoughts, feelings and behaviours among young adult women.

My research is mainly conducted through self-administered questionnaires. Participants are asked to respond to various questions about their body image cognitions and emotions in addition to physical activity participation. For my PhD research, I will also be conducting semi-structured interviews with young adult women, asking them about their experiences with positive appearance comments.

My research will benefit young adult women by indentifying factors related to body image that contribute to exercise motivation. This will be useful when designing physical activity intervention programs intended to increase participation for women.

Recently within body image research, there has been a paradigm shift from studying body image disturbance to determining factors that help individuals develop positive body image. My PhD research will keep in line with this new phase, working towards gaining a better understanding of positive body image determinants.

I became interested in exercise psychology research for a couple of reasons. While in 3rd year of my undergraduate kinesiology degree, I tore the ACL in my left knee playing varsity basketball. As a result, I was forced to take a break from exercise for about 8 months. It was during this time that I began to self-reflect and evaluate some of my own motivations for engaging in regular physical activity. However, the main reason I decided to pursue graduate work in exercise psychology was after taking Dr. Gammage's 4th year Body Image course and learning about body image and exercise interventions. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and seeing Dr. Gammage's passion for her research inspired me to pursue a similar career in exercise psychology.

A large part of my decision to continue my PhD studies at Brock was based on the valuable relationships I had formed with supportive colleagues and faculty members in the Kinesiology Department. In addition, the opportunity to continue working with Dr. Gammage was an integral part of my decision to pursue a doctoral degree at Brock. Her valuable guidance and trust in my abilities have been very beneficial and have allowed me to become a more confident graduate student under her supervision.

My advice for someone considering graduate studies at Brock is to not be discouraged by the young stage of the Applied Health Sciences graduate program. Even though the PhD program is fairly new, relative to other universities, the quality of supervision, classes offered and research facilities available are outstanding.

Outside of academics, my interests include running, playing intramural volleyball, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Funding & Awards:

Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral Award
Brock University Distinguished Graduate Student Award - Applied Health Sciences
Brock University Graduate Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Award
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship - Master's Award