Harry Prapavessis, PhD


Room 4181, TH
519 661-2111 x80173
Google Scholar
ORCID: 0000-0003-0636-7316
Exercise Health Psychology Lab


  • PhD (Western Australia)
  • BA, MA (Western University)

Graduate Program Supervision

  • Psychological Basis of Kinesiology MA | PhD

Research In Profile

Harry Prapavessis' research program has three main foci. First, he investigates the determinants of sedentary behavior and physical activity, and interventions grounded in theory that will positively change sedentary behavior and physical activity. Second, he applies exercise to nicotine and alcohol models to reduce cravings and smoking behavior/drinking. He also applies exercise to caffeine models to reduce cravings, fatigue and enhance cognitive function. Mechanistic pathways to explain these effects are examined. Third and finally, he explores the role that psychological factors play in the prediction, prevention, and recovery of injury.

Featured Publications and Projects

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Dillon, K., Hiemstra, M., Mitchell, M.,Bartmann, N., Rollo, S., Gardiner, P., & Prapavessis, H (ahead of print, 2021). Validity of the occupational sitting and physical activity questionnaire (OSPAQ) for home-based office workers during the COVID-19 global pandemic: A secondary analysis. Applied Ergonomics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2021.103551
  • Sick, K., Rollo, S., & Prapavessis, H (2021). Exploring the relationship between adults’ perceptions of sedentary behaviours and psychological stress: Is your mindset stressing you out? International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20(4), 1208-1224. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2021.1948586
  • Dillon, K., Rollo, A., & Prapavessis, H (2021). A Combined Health Action Process Approach and mHealth Intervention to Reduce Sedentary Behaviour in University Students – A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychology & Health, 37(6), 692-711. https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2021.1900574.
  • Sui, W & Prapavessis, H. (2021). The Effect of an Acute Sedentary Behaviour Reducing Intervention on Subjective Well-Being among University Students: A Pilot Randomized Trial. Health Psychology Bulletin, 5(1), pp. 46-60. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/hpb.29
  • Vargas-Terrones M, Nagpal TS, Perales M, Prapavessis H, Mottola MF, Barakat R (2021). Physical activity and prenatal depression: going beyond statistical significance by assessing the impact of reliable and clinical significant change. Psychological Medicine 51, 688–693. https://doi.org/10.1017/ S0033291719003714
  • Rollo, A., & Prapavessis, H (2020). A Combined Health Action Process Approach and mHealth Intervention to Reduce Workplace Sitting Time in Office-Working Adults: A Secondary Analysis Examining Health-related Quality of Life and Work Performance Outcomes. Psychology & Health, Oct, 1-17 https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2020.1838522.
  • Dillon, K.., & Prapavessis, H., (2020). "REducing SEDENTary Behavior Among Mild to Moderate Cognitively Impaired Assisted Living Residents: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial (RESEDENT Study)". Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 29(1), 27-35. 10.1123/japa.2019-0440.

Visit Google Scholar for a comprehensive list of publications.

Current Grants and Research Projects

  • Prapavessis, H (2018-2020). Less couch, less grouch: Investigating the relationship between sedentary behaviour and subjective well-being. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($63,000)
  • Prapavessis, H (Jan 2022—Dec 2022) Using a stress induction model to examine how exercise modulates improvements in executive functions Western Strategic Support for NSERC ($25,000)

Featured Graduate Student Projects

Sedentary behaviour: theory-based interventions and measurement considerations in high-risk populations

  • Kirsten Dillon (2019-2022). PhD, School of Kinesiology. Faculty of Health Sciences.

Using the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA) to understand and change sedentary behaviour in office workers: Effects on motivation, behaviour, and health outcomes

  • Scott Rollo (2015-2019). School of Kinesiology. Faculty of Health Sciences.

An Evaluation of a Mobile Health-Health Action Process Approach Intervention to Reduce Sedentary Behaviour and Stress in Adult Office Workers - Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Brett Carter (2020-2022). MA, School of Kinesiology. Faculty of Health Sciences.

Using a Protection Motivation Theory framework to reduce vaping intentions and behaviour among young vapers

  • Babac Salmani (2020-2021). MA, School of Kinesiology. Faculty of Health Sciences.

The Effects of Acute Aerobic Exercise and Caffeine on Working Memory and Caffeine Withdrawal

  • Anisa Morava (2017-2019). MA, School of Kinesiology. Faculty of Health Sciences.

Visit Scholarship@Western for a list of completed student theses and dissertations in the repository.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Project 1.
To uncover the effect of acute exercise on alcohol craving. The proposed project will induce alcohol craving using an alcohol-prime dose, which leads to strong alcohol craving (i.e., hot cognitions of craving) among at risk heavy social drinkers.

Project 2.
The looming cognitive vulnerability model (LCVM) posits that anxiety stems from the perception that a certain stimulus is not just a threat, but also that the threat is increasing in size by progressing closer to the individual in time and/or space. Although most previous research on the LCVM focuses on therapeutic clinical interventions to reduce anxiety disorders, the model is also potentially applicable to the area of adaptive behavioral change . One behavior that many young people are engaging in today is vaping. The objective of the current project is to use the LCVM as a framework to increase young people’s anxiety regarding the health consequences of vaping, in the hope that this will motivate them to try to take protective action through refraining from vaping or reducing vaping use.

Project 3.
There is robust evidence that caffeine buffers the mental fatigue, which arises from sustained time-on-task. Whether acute exercise buffers mental fatigue to the same degree as caffeine remains unknown. This project will she light on this issue.

For more information, please send an email to professor Prapavessis at hprapave@uwo.ca.

Additional Information

Academic Appointments and Research Affiliations

  • Cross-Appointed Professor, Department of Oncology
  • Director, Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory
  • Mentor, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR): Strategic Training Program in Cancer Research and Technology Transfer

Media Highlights


  • Faculty Scholar

Professional Activities

  • Reviewer:
    • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
    • Canada Foundation for Innovation