Professor Joan Duda PhD

Professor Joan Duda

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Duda is internationally known for her expertise on motivational processes and determinants of adherence and optimal functioning in sport, exercise, and dance. She is an experienced mental skills consultant, working with athletes, coaches/instructors, and other performers at all levels. Joan is Director of a large multi-national EC-funded project which aims to promote quality engagement in youth sport (, exemplifying her interests in developing, implementing and evaluating theory-based interventions in healthy and clinical populations across the lifespan.


1978-1981 Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Major: Sport Psychology


Joan L. Duda is a Professor of Sports Psychology in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at The University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway.  She completed her B.A. (1977) in psychology at Rutgers University, her M.S. degree (1978) in physical education at Purdue University, and Ph.D. (1981) in Sport Psychology/Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Professor Duda is internationally known for her expertise on motivational processes and determinants of adherence and optimal functioning within physical activities as well as the psychological and emotional dimensions of sport, exercise, and dance. She is experienced in developing, implementing and evaluating theory-based interventions in healthy and clinical populations across the lifespan. Her work is marked by an integration of major theoretical frameworks, methodological advancements and incorporates field to lab-based studies employing sophisticated quantitative techniques and qualitative approaches.   Joan leads the Motivating Healthy Lifestyle theme within the Centre for Obesity Research and is associated with the Center on Healthy Ageing and Institute of Sport, Exercise and Movement.

Professor Duda is Past-President of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology and has also been a member of the executive boards of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, the Sport Psychology Academy, Division 47 of the American Psychological Association, and the International Society for Sport Psychology. She is currently on the Scientific Committee of the European College of Sport Sciences. She was Editor of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology for 17 years and currently is Associate Editor of Motivation and Emotion and an Editorial Board member for the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, and the European Journal of Sport Sciences. A Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology, the European College of Sport Sciences, the International Association of Applied Psychology and the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Professor Duda has published over 220 scientific and applied papers and book chapters.  She is the editor of the book Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology Measurement (1998) and co-editor of the Handbook of Applied Sport Psychology Research, with D. Hackfort and R. Lidor (2005). 

Professor Duda has been an invited keynote speaker in numerous countries around the world. In 1997, she was named the Visiting International Scholar by the Australian Sport Psychology Society. Based on her academic record and contributions to the field, she was appointed to Sub-Panel 46 for RAE 2008 and was the recipient of an honorary doctoral degree from the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (2008). She is presently Principal Investigator or Co-investigator on projects (totaling over £3 million) supported by diverse funders including the European Commission (FP7 Health; see, the UK Medical Research Council/National Prevention Research Initiative, the Economic and Social Research Council, BUPA Medical Research, The FA and the Association of Applied Psychology. 

Other activities

Professor Duda has been a mental skills consultant for over 25 years, working with athletes, coaches, and parents at different competitive levels. She is certified as a Consultant by the Association of Applied Sport Psychology and listed on the US Olympic Registry. She was the sport psychology consultant for the USA Gymnastics Women’s Artistic National Team and the Women's US Olympic team that won the gold medal in the Atlanta 1996 Games. At Purdue University, she set up and directed the Mental Skills Training program that serviced intercollegiate athletes and coaches in tennis, track and field, softball, basketball, swimming, and wrestling. At The University of Birmingham, she works with TASS and USB sport-scholars and also offers consultation with other elite athletes and coaches with respect to performance excellence and motivational issues. In collaboration with the Winning Scotland Foundation and the Scottish Rugby Union, she has recently led (with Dr Jennifer Cumming) a 3 year study entailing the development, delivery and evaluation of a sport- and age-specific Mental Skills Training program for young elite rugby players. This is her 9th year being the performance psychology consultant for the Birmingham Royal Ballet.


Recent publications


Kanavaki, AM, Rushton, A, Klocke, R, Abhishek, A & Duda, JL 2022, 'Assessing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in hip and knee osteoarthritis using accelerometers: Implications of different patterns and cut-points for health and well-being', Journal of Sports Sciences, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 156-163.

PETNECK2 Research Team 2022, 'Exploring the views of patients' and their family about patient-initiated follow-up in head and neck cancer: a mixed methods study', European journal of cancer care.

O'Brien, CM, Ntoumanis, N, Duda, JL, Kitas, GD, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS, Metsios, GS & Fenton, SAM 2021, 'Pain and fatigue are longitudinally and bi-directionally associated with more sedentary time and less standing time in rheumatoid arthritis', Rheumatology (Oxford, England).

Bradbury, M, O'Brien, C, Giles, N, Fenton, S, Neilson, S & Duda, JL 2021, 'Sedentary behaviour in non-ambulant children and young people with physical disabilities: a systematic search and review protocol', BMJ open, vol. 11, no. 12, e053077.

Willett, M, Greig, C, Fenton, S, Rogers, D, Duda, J & Rushton, A 2021, 'Utilising the perspectives of patients with lower-limb osteoarthritis on prescribed physical activity to develop a theoretically informed physiotherapy intervention', BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, vol. 22, no. 1, 155.

Brady, SM, Fenton, SAM, Metsios, GS, Bosworth, A, Duda, JL, Kitas, GD & Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS 2020, 'Different types of physical activity are positively associated with indicators of mental health and psychological wellbeing in rheumatoid arthritis during COVID-19', Rheumatology International, vol. 2020, pp. 1-10.

Fenton, SAM, Ntoumanis, N, Duda, JL, Metsios, GS, Rouse, PC, Yu, C-A, Kitas, GD & Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS 2020, 'Diurnal patterns of sedentary time in rheumatoid arthritis: associations with cardiovascular disease risk', RMD Open, vol. 6, no. 2, e001216.

O'Brien, C, Duda, J, Kitas, G, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, J, Metsios, G & Fenton, S 2020, 'Measurement of sedentary time and physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis: an ActiGraph and activPAL™ validation study', Rheumatology International, vol. 40, no. 9, pp. 1509-1518.

Fenton, S, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, J, Metsios, GS, Rouse, P, Yu, C, Ntoumanis, N, Kitas, G & Duda, J 2020, 'Testing a self-determination theory-based process model of physical activity behavior change in rheumatoid arthritis: results of a randomized controlled trial', Translational Behavioral Medicine, vol. 2020, ibaa022.

Wiangkham, T, Duda, J, Haque, S, Price, J & Rushton, A 2019, 'A cluster randomised, double-blind pilot and feasibility trial of an active behavioural physiotherapy intervention for acute whiplash-associated disorder (WAD)II', PLoSONE, vol. 14, no. 5, e0215803.

Willett, MJ, Greig, C, Rogers, D, Fenton, S, Duda, J & Rushton, A 2019, 'Barriers and facilitators to recommended physical activity in lower-limb osteoarthritis: protocol for a qualitative study exploring patients and physiotherapist perspectives using the theoretical domains framework and behaviour change taxonomy', BMJ open, vol. 9, no. 10, e029199.

Hensman, M, Motl, RW, Pilutti, LA, Fenton, SAM, Duda, JL, Douglas, M & Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS 2019, 'Comparison of sedentary behaviour questionnaires in people with multiple sclerosis', Disability and Rehabilitation.

Willett, M, Duda, J, Fenton, S, Gautrey, C, Greig, C & Rushton, A 2019, 'Effectiveness of behaviour change techniques in physiotherapy interventions to promote physical activity adherence in lower limb osteoarthritis patients: a systematic review', PLoSONE, vol. 14, no. 7, e0219482.

Review article

Veldhuijzen van Zanten, JJCS, Fenton, SAM, Brady, S, Metsios, GS, Duda, JL & Kitas, GD 2020, 'Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing in Rheumatoid Arthritis during COVID-19 - Can Physical Activity Help?', Mediterranean Journal of Rheumatology, vol. 31, no. Suppl 2, pp. 284-287.

Fenton, S, Duda, J, Veldhuijzen van Zanten, J, Metsios, GS & Kitas, G 2020, 'Theory-informed interventions to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour in rheumatoid arthritis: a critical review of the literature', Mediterranean Journal of Rheumatology, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 19-41.

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