Michelle Fortier
Michelle Fortier
Full professor

1994, Ph.D., Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal
1990, B.A. (spéc.), Psychologie, Université d'Ottawa

MNT 329
613-562-5800 ext. 4275


Michelle Fortier is a physical activity psychologist who is a professor at the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa. Her research program aims to understand and promote physical activity behavior change with an emphasis on motivation/enjoyment. She has extensive research experience examining the determinants of physical activity in different healthy and clinical populations.  Her last SSHRC entitled: Understanding Physical Activity Adoption and Maintenance in Cardiac Rehabilitation ranked 7th in Canada and she is a co-investigator on a present SSHRC examining the effect of peer-mentorship on the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury. Dr. Fortier has also been heavily involved in the development and evaluation of physical activity promotion interventions. She is most known for the Physical Activity Counseling trial of which she was Principal Investigator (PAC: 682 677 $).  PAC was a theoretically-based motivational randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of adding a physical activity counselor/kinesiologist to the primary health care team. The trial influenced the emergence of the College of Kinesiology of Ontario. She has been teaching a Physical activity counseling course stemming from this trial and has advocated for other courses across Canada by leading the Coalition for Physical Activity Counseling.  Recently most of her research examines the impact of physical activity or organized sport on mental health.  She is one of the 8 national advisory council members of Exercise is Medicine Canada. She has had funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and from the Canadian Institutes in Health Research (CIHR) and has published in such journals as Psychology of Sport and Exercise, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. She is member of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and the American College of Sport Medicine.

Research interests

  • Physical activity motivation/self-determination/enjoyment
  • Physical activity behavior change
  • Determinants of physical activity
  • Mental health
  • Women’s well-being

Ongoing research

A project examining the role of physical activity counseling on depression levels of female undergraduate students with depression. Related to this, we are investigating the behavior change techniques and motivational interviewing techniques of the PACs. A study on how physical activity counseling services on university campuses will impact University students and improve kinesiology students’ competencies. I also research the negative effects of organized sport on kids’ and parents’. I am a co-investigator on a SSHRC looking at the effects of peer-mentors on people with spinal cord injury and another SSHRC studying the effect of program quality on positive youth development.


  • Hardcastle, S., Fortier, M., Blake, N. & Hagger, M.  (accepted). Identification of Behavior change techniques within Motivational Interviewing and its relationship to existing BCT taxonomies.  36 pages. Health Psychology Review.
  • *McFadden, T., *Bean, C., & Fortier, M. (2016).  Sport Specialization, need satisfaction-dissatisfaction and mental health.  Cogent Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/23311908.2016.1157975.
  • *Perras, M. G. M., Strachan, S. M., & Fortier, M. S.  (2015). Possible Selves and Physical Activity in Retirees: The Mediating Role of Identity. 1–23. Research on Aging. DOI: 10.1177/0164027515606191.
  • Fortier, M.,*Guérin, E., *Williams, T. & Strachan, S.   (2015). Should I exercise of sleep to feel better: A daily analysis with active working mothers. Mental Health and Physical Activity. 6, 56-61.
  • Frémont, P. Fortier, M. & Frankovich, R.J. (2014). An exercise prescription and referral tool to facilitate brief advice to adults in primary care.  Canadian Family Physician.  2014; 60: 1120-22.
  • *Bean, C., Fortier, M., *Post, C. & *Chima, K. (2014). Understanding how organized sport may be harming the family unit: A literature review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 11, 10226-10268; doi:10.3390/ijerph111010226
  • *Sweet, S.N., Fortier, M.S., & Blanchard, C. (2014). Investigating motivational regulations and physical activity over 25 weeks. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 11, 1052-1056.
  • *Williams, T., *Guérin, E., & Fortier, M. (2014).  Conflict between women’s physically active and passive leisure pursuits: The role of self-determination and influences on well-being.  Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 6 (2), 151–172. 
  • *Sweet, S.N., Fortier, M.S., Strachan, S.M., Blanchard, C.M., Boulay, P.  (2014).  Testing a longitudinal integrated self-efficacy and self-determination theory model for physical activity post-cardiac rehabilitation. Health Psychology Research, 2 (1), 30-37, http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/hpr.2014.1008.
  • *Guérin, E., & Fortier, M. & *Williams, T.  (2013). “I just NEED to move…”: Examining women’s passion for physical activity and its relationship with daily affect and vitality. Psychology of Well Being, 3:4, 1-24.
  • *Guérin, E., & Fortier, M. (2013). The moderating influence of situational motivation on the relationship between preferred physical activity and positive affect: An experimental study.  Sage Open.  1-13. doi: 10.1177/2158244013508416  
  • *Guerin, E., & Fortier, M. & Sweet, S. (2013). An experience sampling study of physical activity and positive affect: Investigating the role situational
    motivation and perceived intensity across time. Health Psychology
    , 1:e21, 100-110. (Thesis supervisor, supervision of all phases of the research,: significantly edited the manuscript; conceptualization = 60%, writing = 40%). 37 pages.
  • *Sweet, S.N., Fortier, M.S., Strachan, S.M.  & Blanchard, C.M.  (2012). Testing and integrating Self-Determination Theory and Self-Efficacy Theory in a physical activity context.  Canadian Psychology, 53, 319-327.
  • *Guerin, E., & Fortier M. S.  (2012). Situational motivation and perceived intensity: Do they interact in predicting changes in positive affect with physical activity? Journal of Obesity (No. 269320), 1-7.
  • Fortier, M.S., Duda, J., *Guérin, E., & Teixeira, P. (2012). Self-determination theory-based physical activity interventions.  International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 9(1), 20, 1-14.
  • **Hogg, W., Zhao, X., Angus, D., Fortier, M.S., O’Sullivan, T., Sigal, R., & Blanchard, C. (2012).  The cost of integrating a physical activity counselor in the primary health care team.  Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 25(2): 250-252 doi:10.3122/jabfm.2012.02.110154.
  • Fortier, M.S., Hogg, W., O’Sullivan, T., Blanchard, C., Sigal, R., Reid, R., Boulay, P., Doucet, E, Bisson, E., Beaulac, J. & Culver, J. (2011). Impact of integrating a physical activity counsellor into the primary health care team: Physical activity and health outcomes of the Physical Activity Counselling (PAC) randomized controlled trial.   Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 36: 503–514  doi:10.1139/H11-040.
  • Fortier, M.S., *Sweet, S., *Tulloch, H., Blanchard, C., Sigal, R., Kenny, G. & Reid, R.  (2011). Self-determination and exercise stage progression: A longitudinal study.  Journal of Health Psychology, 1-13.  doi: 10.1177/1359105311408948.
  • Fortier, M.S., *Wiseman, E., *Sweet, S., O’Sullivan, T., Blanchard, C., Sigal, R., & Hogg, W.  (2011).  A moderated mediation of motivation on physical activity in the context of the PAC randomized control trial.  Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12, 71-78.
  • Fortier, M.S., Williams, G.C., *Sweet, S.N., Patrick, H. (2009). Self-Determination theory process models for health behaviour change: Applications to tobacco dependence treatment and physical activity counseling. In R.J. Diclemente, R.A. Crosby, M.C. Kegler (Eds.), Emerging Theories in Health Promotion Practice and Research: Strategies for Improving Public Health (2nd Ed.), 157-184.  Jossey-Bass.