Rebecca Busanich

About Rebecca Busanich

Dr. Rebecca Busanich is an Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and an Associate Director of the Center for Active Living & Healthy Communities at Plymouth State University. She holds a PhD in Exercise Psychology from the University of Iowa, a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Dr. Busanich’s research explores the social and cultural narratives around physical activity, eating and the body and translates her findings to promote healthy/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 (i.e., narrative inquiry, community-based participatory research, ethnography) and innovative visual and creative methods (i.e., photovoice, journaling and visual narrative). Dr. Busanich also teaches courses in applied nutrition, exercise and sport psychology and health promotion, and serves on a variety of academic committees, and in partnership with various community organizations, that are committed to increasing diversity, research opportunities, and enhancing health and well-being. 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.


Selected publications/presentations/exhibitions

McGannon, K.R.& Busanich, R. (2016). Athletes and motherhood. In R.J. Schinke, K.R. McGannon & B. Smith (Eds.). The Routledge International Handbook of Sport Psychology (pp. 286-295)London: Routledge.

Busanich, R., McGannon, K. R., & Schinke, R. J. (2015). Exploring disordered eating & embodiment in male distance runners through visual narrative methods. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise & Health. 

Busanich, R., McGannon, K.R. & Schinke, R. (2014). Comparing elite male and female distance runner’s experiences of disordered eating through narrative analysis. Psychology of Sport & Exercise: Special Issue on Eating Disorders in Sport, 15, 705-712.

McGannon, K. R., Schinke, R. J., & Busanich, R. (2014). Cultural Sport Psychology: Considerations for Enhancing Cultural Competence of Practitioners. In L.S. Tashman & J.G. Cremades (Eds.) Becoming a Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Professional: International Perspectives (pp. 135-142). London: Routledge.

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.



Honors and Awards

  • American Heart Association’s Platinum Fit-Friendly Award for Healthy PSU Program Development, June 2015
  • American Heart Association’s Gold Fit-Friendly Award for Healthy PSU Program Development, July 2014
  • Presidents’ Community Partner Award in 2014 for the Center for Active Living & Healthy Community’s Partnership with the Circle Program
  • Outstanding Paper of 2013, Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research.
  • 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
  • HE 4090 – Qualitative Research in Health Promotion
  • HP 5200 – Nutrition (graduate class)
  • HP 5560 – Special Topics: Nutrition and Physical Activity Principles (graduate class)


Professional Association Membership and Participation

  • Member of Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)
  • Member of AASP Diversity Committee
  • Member of National Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health (NSPAPPH)
  • Member of International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH)

University of Iowa (Ph.D.) – 2011

University of Oregon (M.S.) – 2005

University of Michigan (B.S.) – 2003