Danielle Symons Downs

 Danielle Downs

Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Undergraduate Program Director

Contact Information

268Q Recreation Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-865-1275




Ph.D., 2002, Health and Human Performance, University of Florida

Research Interests

Theoretical determinants of exercise motivation and participation; evidence-based behavioral interventions to promote physical activity and health during the preconceptional, prenatal, and postpartum periods; excessive exercise and eating pathology behaviors


  • Individually-tailored, theoretically-designed, optimized behavioral interventions
  • Motivational determinants and outcomes of physical activity, healthy behaviors, and weight management in women before, during, and after pregnancy
  • Exercise psychology

Selected Publications

Symons Downs, D., Chasan-Taber, L., Evenson, K. R., Leiferman, J., & Yeo, S. (in press). Physical activity and pregnancy: Past and present evidence and future recommendations. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

Evenson, K. R., Chasan-Taber, L., Symons Downs, D., & Pearce, E. E. (in press). Review of self-reported physical activity assessments for pregnancy: Summary of the evidence for validity and reliability. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.

Symons Downs, D., DiNallo, J.M., & Savage, J. S. (in press). Self-determined to exercise: Leisure-time exercise behavior, exercise motivation, and exercise dependence symptoms in youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

DiNallo, J. M., Symons Downs, D., & Le Masurier, G. C. (2012). Objectively assessing treadmill walking during the second and third pregnancy trimesters. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 9 (1), 21-28.

Rauff, E. L., & Symons Downs, D. (2011). The mediating effects of body image satisfaction on exercise behavior, depressive symptoms, and gestational weight gain in early pregnancy. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. DOI: 10.1007/s12160-011-9300-2.

Hillemeier, M. M., Weisman, C. S., Chuang, C., Symons Downs, D., McCall-Hosenfeld, J., & Camacho, F. (2011). Transition to overweight or obesity among women of reproductive age. Journal of Women’s Health, 20, 5, 703-710.