Steven J Petruzzello

Profile picture for Steven J Petruzzello

Contact Information

231 Freer Hall MC-052




What I Do and Why (I think) It’s Important

I study the kinds of things (e.g., personality) that make people more or less physically active and how physical activity and exercise influences the way people feel (pleasantness, enjoyment) and think. This work also includes working with first responders and tactical athletes (firefighters, police officers, miilitary) to study the effects of physical activity in extreme environments. This work is important because of the mental health issues associated with lack of adequate physical activity and the need to understand how to get people to engage in more physically activity lifestyles.



Research Interests

I direct the Exercise Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My research is aimed at a more complete understanding of the affective (including anxiety) and cognitive responses to exercise/physical activity, including the pre-to-post exercise changes that take place as well as the in-task changes that occur, along with individual differences that might lead to these changes. This work involves both self-report and psychophysiological and neuroscientific measures (e.g., EEG, HRV, hormones, etc.) to answer the research questions being examined. Ultimately, this research aims to develop a better understanding of how exercise makes people feel in order to structure the exercise stimulus to enhance adherence by either increasing positive or decreasing negative affective responses to the exercise.







University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI




Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ



Physical Education

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ



Exercise Science


Awards and Honors


1995              Named Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine

1999              Undergraduate Faculty Teaching Award, Department of Kinesiology, UIUC

2011, 2013   Undergraduate Teaching Faculty Award, College of Applied Health Sciences, UIUC

2013              Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for Faculty Award, University of Illinois

2016              Graduate Student Mentoring Award, College of Applied Health Sciences, UIUC

2018              Phyllis J. Hill James Scholar Award for Exemplary Mentoring, College of Applied Health Sciences, UIUC

2018              Named Fellow (#578) in the National Academy of Kinesiology


Courses Taught

KIN 340, Social & Psychological Aspects of Physical Activity

KIN 443/PSYC 443, Psychophysiology in Exercise & Sport

Additional Campus Affiliations

Research Scientist, Illinois Fire Service Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Recent Publications

Box, A. G., Feito, Y., Brown, C., Heinrich, K. M., & Petruzzello, S. J. (2019). High intensity functional training (HIFT) and competitions: How motives differ by length of participation. PloS one, 14(3), [e0213812].

Box, A. G., Feito, Y., Brown, C., & Petruzzello, S. J. (2019). Individual differences influence exercise behavior: how personality, motivation, and behavioral regulation vary among exercise mode preferences. Heliyon, 5(4), [e01459].

Box, A. G., Feito, Y., Matson, A., Heinrich, K. M., & Petruzzello, S. J. (2019). Is age just a number? Differences in exercise participatory motives across adult cohorts and the relationships with exercise behaviour. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Box, A. G., & Petruzzello, S. J. (2019). Why do they do it? Differences in high-intensity exercise-affect between those with higher and lower intensity preference and tolerance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

Erickson, K. I., Hillman, C., Stillman, C. M., Ballard, R. M., Bloodgood, B., Conroy, D. E., ... Powell, K. E. (2019). Physical Activity, Cognition, and Brain Outcomes: A Review of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 51(6), 1242-1251.

View all publications on Illinois Experts