Danielle Symons Downs

 Danielle Downs

Professor of Kinesiology and Obstetrics & Gynecology

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.