Robert Brustad, PhD

Robert BrustadEducation

  • 1986 Ph.D., University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
  • 1985 M.A., University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
  • 1975 B.A., University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

Professional Experience

  • 1992-present Professor of Sport & Exercise Science, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
  • 2005-present Affiliate faculty, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  • Co-Director, Graduate Program in Social Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity: University of Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
  • 1999-present Affiliate faculty, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  • 1986-1992 Assistant Professor, Portland State University, Portland, OR

Teaching Areas

  • Sport and exercise psychology
  • Sociology of sport and physical activity
  • Developmental and lifespan physical activity
  • Research design and statistics
  • Motivation
  • Positive youth development


The primary focus of graduate study in our program is on the social psychology of sport and physical activity. Within this area of focus, strong interest is directed toward understanding the sport and physical activity behavior of children and adolescents, with particular influence dedicated to understanding the role of parents, peers, coaches, and siblings.

Additional research within the social psychological framework focuses upon motivation and coaching behavior, physical activity across the lifespan, and group dynamics in sport and exercise settings. Knowledge in these areas is necessary so that applied work can effectively contribute to the psychological, social, and emotional development of children, adolescents, and adults as they engage in sport and physical activity opportunities.

I am currently Associate Editor for the journal Psychology of Sport & Exercise and also serve on the editorial boards for Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology and The Sport Psychologist and for two Spanish language journals of sport and exercise psychology.  From 1998-2000, I was Editor for Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.

Selected Publications

  • Brustad, R.J. (in press).  Psychological and social considerations in the talent development process in sport.  In Y. Zinchenko and Y. Hanin (Eds.), Sport psychology on the way to the Olympic Games.  Moscow, Russia: Moscow State University Press.
  • Seabra, A., Seabra, A.C., Mendonça, D., Brustad, R., Maia, J., Fonseca, A., & Malina, R. (2013) Psychosocial correlates of physical activity in schoolchildren aged 8 to 10 years.  European Journal of Public Health, 23(5), 794-798
  • Brustad, R.J. (2012) Children’s motivation for involvement in physical activity.  In E. Acevedo (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Exercise Psychology (pp. 385- 408).  New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Brustad, R.J.  (2012). Physical activity promotion in youth: The role of the social environment.  Motricidade, 8, 2-14
  • Brustad, R.J. (2010).  The role of family in promoting physical activity.  President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Research Digest, 10(3), 1-8. 
  • Brustad, R.J.  (2008). Qualitative research approaches.  In T.S. Horn (Ed.), Advances in Sport Psychology (3rd Ed, pp. 31-44).  Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.
  • Partridge, J.A., Brustad, R.J., & Babkes, M.L.  (in press)  Social influence in sport: The role of parents, peers, and siblings.  In T.S. Horn (Ed.), Advances in Sport Psychology (3rd Ed.), Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.
  • Brustad, R.J., Vilhjalmsson, R., & Fonseca, A.M.  (2008). Organized sport and physical activity promotion.  In A.L. Smith and S.J.H. Biddle (Eds.), Youth Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior: Challenges and Solutions (pp. 351- 375). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Brustad, R.J., & Parker, M.A.  (2005). Enhancing positive youth development through sport and physical activity.  Psycholgica, 39, 75-93.
  • Bois, J.E., Sarrazin, P.G., Brustad, R.J., Cury, F, & Trouilloud, D.O.   (2005). Elementary schoolchildren’s perceived competence and physical activity involvement: The influence of parents’ role modeling behaviors and perceptions of their child’s competence.  Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 6, 381-397.
  • Bois, J.E., Sarrazin, P.E., Brustad, R.J., Chanal, J.P., & Trouilloud, D.O.  (2005).  Parents’ appraisals, reflected appraisals, and children’s self appraisals of sport competence: A yearlong study.  Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. 6, 381-397.
  • Brustad, R.J., & Babkes, M.L. (2003). Social influence upon psychological outcomes of sport and physical activity involvement. In M.R. Weiss (Ed.), Developmental Sport Psychology (pp.313-332) Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
  • Brustad, R.J., & Partridge, J.A. (2002). Parental and peer influence on children's psychological development through sport. In F.L. Smoll & R.E. Smith (Eds.), Children and youth in sport: A biopsychosocial approach (2nd Edition, pp. 187-210). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.
  • Brustad, R.J., Babkes, M. L., & Smith, A.L. (2001). Youth in sport: Psychological considerations. In R.N. Singer, H. A. Hausenblas, & C. M. Janelle (Eds., pp. 604-635), Handbook of Sport Psychology: (2nd Ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Brustad, R.J. (1998). Developmental considerations in sport and exercise psychology measurement. In J. L. Duda (Ed.), Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology Measurement (pp. 461-470). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology Publishers.
  • Brustad, R.J. (1996). Attraction to physical activity in urban schoolchildren: Parental socialization and gender influences. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 67, 316-323.


I have been actively involved in sport throughout my life,  particularly in  track and field.  An additional interest has been in establishing international collaborations with colleagues and friends at universities in Spain, France, Chile, and Portugal through which qualified students may have opportunities to study or conduct research.  A major current  focus is upon establishing an international network for scholars and practitioners working in the area of positive youth development through sport. Additional areas of interest include understanding the relationship between physical activity and psychological well-being in children and adults.