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Cynthia Thomson

Dr. Cynthia Thomson

Assistant Professor, Nursing (BSN) Program

Faculty of Health Sciences

Chilliwack campus at CEP, CEP A2404

Phone: 604-792-0025 Ext. 2518

email Cynthia


Originally from Ottawa, Cynthia completed concurrent Bachelor of Science and Physical and Health Education at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) in 2003.  She took a study hiatus exploring the Canadian Rockies before pursuing her Master of Science (2008) and PhD (2013) in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. Her MSc and PhD research explored participation in high-risk recreation from an interdisciplinary perspective, investigating potential innate drivers (genetics) and individual differences (personality).  During her time at UBC, Cynthia taught Anatomy & Physiology and was involved in teaching exercise physiology. 

After discovering a passion for teaching during her PhD, in 2013 Cynthia began a teaching fellowship at Quest University Canada, where she taught biology and sport psychology.  She began working at the University of the Fraser Valley in 2014, teaching human and exercise physiology in the Nursing and Kinesiology departments and has been enjoying her time at UFV ever since.

When she is not teaching/researching, you can find Cynthia with her family playing in the mountains.


BSc, Queen’s University

BPHE, Queen’s University

MSc, University of British Columbia

PhD, University of British Columbia

Teaching Fellowship, Quest University Canada


American College Sports Medicine

Teaching Interests

Human Anatomy & Physiology, Exercise Physiology

Research Interests

Cynthia’s research has centred on gaining a better understanding of high-risk sport participation and individual differences in sensation seeking, impulsivity, and risk taking. She is interested in potential positive health benefits of athletic risk-taking, and also in physiological and environmental factors affecting risk taking in sport.  Cynthia’s most recent work at UFV explored the effects of an acute bout of exercise on risky decision-making.

Through her work in 2017-2018 as a Research Facilitator for Vancouver Coastal Health, she became involved in clinical research trials and is also interested in exploring ways to instil a culture of inquiry among health care professionals.  Cynthia is currently helping support a randomized clinical trial investigating the effects of a 12-month exercise and nutrition intervention in patients with atrial fibrillation.


Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute: (Workshop) Introduction to Research Methods for health care professionals.  March, 2017.


Refereed Journal Articles

R.S. Koszalinski, R.E. Heidel, C.J. Thomson, P. D. Cochran, J. Nance, and A. Kaye.  An exploration of sensation seeking in persons with disabilities in rehabilitation.  Rehabilitation Nursing Journal.  2018 May 3. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1097/rnj.0000000000000146

C.J. Thomson, R.J. Power, S.R. Carlson, J.L. Rupert, and G. Michel. (2015).  A comparison of genetic variants between proficient high- and low-risk sport participants.  Journal of Sport Sciences.  Epub.  doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1020841

A.M. Maher, C.J. Thomson, S.R. Carlson.  (2015). Risk-taking and impulsive personality traits in proficient downhill sports enthusiasts.  Personality and Individual Differences

C.J. Thomson, S.R. Carlson. (2015).  Increased patterns of risky behaviour among helmet wearers in skiing and snowboarding.  Accident Analysis and Prevention, 75: 179-183. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2014.11.024

C.J. Thomson, A.K. Rajala, S.R. Carlson, and J.L. Rupert (2014).  Variants in the dopamine-4-receptor gene promoter are not associated with sensation seeking in skiers.  Plos One. 9(4): e93521. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093521

C.J. Thomson and S.R. Carlson. (2014).  Personality and risky downhill sports: Associations with Impulsivity dimensions.  Personality and Individual Differences. 60: 67-72.  doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2013.12.022

C.J. Thomson, C.W. Hanna, S.R. Carlson, and J.L. Rupert (2013).  The -521 C/T variant in the dopamine-4-receptor gene (DRD4) is associated with skiing and snowboarding behaviour.  Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport. 23(2): e108-113. doi: 10.1111/sms.12031

C.J. Thomson, S.R. Carlson, and J.L. Rupert (2013).  Association of a common DRD3 variant is associated with sensation seeking in skiers and snowboarders.  Journal of Research in Personality. 47: 153-158, doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2012.11.004

C.J. Thomson, K.L. Morton, S.R. Carlson, and J.L. Rupert. (2012).  The Contextual Sensation Seeking Questionnaire for skiing and snowboarding (CSSQ-S): Development of a sport specific scale.  International Journal of Sport Psychology. 43(6): 503-521.

Academic Conference Presentations (Published Abstracts)

T. Hamilton, C.J. Thomson, J.F. Burr.  (June 2016).  Improved aerobic fitness predicts improvements in self esteem and life skills following a full-year adventure-based learning program. Annual Convention Canadian Psychology Association, Victoria, BC.

C.J. Thomson, J.F. Burr.  (May 2015). Take a Hike! The impact of adventure-based learning on psychological wellbeing in troubled youth. 2015 Annual Meeting American College of Sports Medicine (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, San Diego, California.

C.J. Thomson, G. Michel, S.R. Carlson, and J.L. Rupert (May 2014).  Double check the safety harness: Adventure athletes seek sensations, but are not impulsive.  Association for Psychological Science AGM.

J.F. Burr, C.J. Thomson.  (May 2013).  Health and Fitness Changes Resulting from Participation in Adventure-Based Learning for Troubled Youth.  American College of Sports Medicine.  Published in Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise: 45(5).

C. J. Thomson, A.K. Rajala, R.J. Power, S.R. Carlson, G. Michel, and J.L. Rupert (June 2012).  The genetics and behaviours of high- and low-risk sport enthusiasts. Behaviour Genetics Association, Edinburgh, Scotland. 

C.J. Thomson, A.K. Rajala, N. Hase, S.R. Carlson, and J.L. Rupert(May 2012).  Interaction between promoter variants of the DRD4 gene and impulsivity in skiers and snowboarders. International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society Meeting, Colorado, USA.

C.J. Thomson and S.R. Carlson (May 2012).  Personality and risky downhill sports: Associations with different dimensions of disinhibition.  Association for Psychological Science Annual Meeting, Chicago, USA.

A.K. Rajala, C.J. Thomson, and J.L. Rupert (March 2012).  The genetics of sport behaviours: the role of DRD4 variants in sensation seeking.  UBC Multidisplinary Undergraduate Research Conference, Vancouver, Canada.

C. J. Thomson, S.R. Carlson, and J.L. Rupert  (October 2011).  Multi-variant analysis of “dopamine pathway” genes in skiers and snowboarders reveals no association with sensation seeking behaviours. The American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.

C.J. Thomson, C.W. Hanna, P. Wang, K.L. Morton, M.R. Beauchamp, and J.L. Rupert. (October, 2009).  Association between dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) -521 C/T polymorphism and sensation seeking behaviour in female alpine skiers and snowboarders (Updated data). The American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting, Honolulu, U.S.A.

J.L. Rupert, M.E. Gallo, C.J. Thomson, and M.N. Fedoruk (March, 2009).  High resolution expression analysis of the whole blood transcriptome of mice acclimated to hypoxia.  The 16th International Hypoxia Symposium, Lake Louise, Canada. 

C.J. Thomson, C.W. Hanna, P. Wang, K.L. Morton, M.R. Beauchamp, and J.L. Rupert. (November, 2008).  Association between dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) -521 C/T polymorphism and sensation seeking behaviour in female alpine skiers and snowboarders. The American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting (Abstract only, unable to attend). 

C.J. Thomson.  (November, 2007).  Genetic approaches to understanding thrill-seeking behaviours in skiers and snowboarders. UBC CFIS Advancing Interdisciplinarity, Vancouver, Canada.

C.J. Thomson.  (May, 2007).  The relationship between genetics and skiing/snowboarding behaviours: variants in the dopamine receptor gene.  UBC School of Kinesiology Graduate Student Research Day, Vancouver, Canada.

Invited Symposium Presentations

C. J. Thomson, C. W. Hanna, S.R. Carlson, G. Michel* and J.L. Rupert . (July 2011). The

genetics and behaviours of high-risk sport enthusiasts. European Congress of Sport Psychology,

Madeira, Portugal.

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