Associate Director

Rebecca Busanich, Ph.D.


Dr. Rebecca Busanich holds a doctoral degree in exercise psychology from the University of Iowa. Dr. Busanich’s research explores the socio-cultural determinants of physical activity and eating behavior and how these can be used to promote healthy and positive eating and physical activity experiences, along with exercise adherence, in underrepresented populations. In exploring these ideas, Dr. Busanich draws upon constructionist and critical feminist theories and social ecological frameworks, along with qualitative methodologies and innovative visual and creative methods, such as photography, journaling and visual narrative.

In addition to her role as the Associate Director for the Center for Active Living & Healthy Communities, Dr. Busanich also teaches courses in nutrition, exercise and sport psychology and health promotion for the Health and Human Performance Department at PSU. Her passion for the field is also demonstrated in her own active lifestyle, as a distance runner and yoga/pilates enthusiast and through her involvement with various local foods and gardening organizations.


  • Ph.D. in Sport & Exercise Psychology – University of Iowa
  • M.S. in Sports Medicine – University of Oregon
  • B.S. in Athletic Training – University of Michigan

Recent publications

McGannon, K. R., Schinke, R. J., & Busanich, R. (In press). Cultural Sport Psychology: Considerations for Enhancing Cultural Competence of Practitioners. In L.S. Tashman & G. cremated (Eds.) Becoming a Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Professional: International Perspectives. London: Routledge.

Busanich, R., McGannon, K.R. & Schinke, R. (In press). Comparing elite male and female distance runner’s experiences of disordered eating through narrative analysis. Submitted to Psychology of Sport & Exercise: Special Issue on Eating Disorders in Sport.

McGannon, K.R., Busanich, R.,Witcher, C.S.G. & Schinke, R.J. (2013). A social ecological exploration of physical activity influences among rural men and women across life stages. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. doi: 10.1080/2159676X.2013.819374

Schinke, R. J., McGannon, K. R., Watson, J. & Busanich, R. (2013). Moving toward trust and partnership: An example of sport related community based participatory action research with aboriginal people and mainstream academics. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research.

Busanich, R., McGannon, K. R., & Schinke, R. J. (2012). Expanding understandings of the body, food & exercise relationship in distance runners: A narrative approach. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 582-590.

Busanich, R. & McGannon, K.R. (2010). Deconstructing disordered eating: A feminist psychological approach to the body, food and exercise relationship in female athletes. Quest, 62, 385-405.

McGannon, K.R. & Busanich, R. (2010). Rethinking subjectivity in sport and exercise psychology: A feminist post-structuralist perspective on women’s embodied physical activity. In T. Ryba, R.J. Schinke & G. Tenenbaum (Eds.) The Cultural Turn in Sport Psychology (pp. 203-229). Morgantown, West Virginia: Fitness Information Technology.

McGannon, K.R. & Busanich, R. (2010). Enough about you, let’s talk about me: Using grounded theory to understand identity as a socio-cultural influence on rural women’s physical activity participation. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 32, S17.

Honors and Awards

  • Awarded Outstanding Paper of 2013, Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research.
  • Vagina Warrior nominee, Plymouth State University, 2012
  • National Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health (NSPAPH) & Center for Disease Control (CDC) Physical Activity and Public Health Researcher Fellow, Hilton Head, South Carolina, September 2011

Courses Taught

  • HE 2300 – Principles of Health
  • HE 3220 – Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living
  • PE 4010 – Exercise & Health Psychology
  • CC 3860 – Psychological Aspects of Sports
  • HP 5200 – Nutrition (graduate class)

Professional Association Membership and Participation

  • NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer (A.T.,C.)
  • Member of Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)
  • Member of National Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health (NSPAPPH)
  • Member of International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH)

Contact Information

Phone: (603)535-2043   Email:   Mail: 17 High St., MSC#22  Plymouth, NH  03264