Rick Petosa

Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Kinesiology

(614) 292-8345

Personal Website


Rick Petosa is professor of kinesiology in the Department of Human Sciences. He also is a fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior.

He is an expert on design, implementation and evaluation of Health Behavior Change programs. His text “Measurement and Evaluation in Health Education” is a top seller in the field.

He was a visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health and has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.  He has worked extensively with rural populations in Appalachia and is the author of the evidence-based “Plan for Exercise” a self-regulation based approach to health behavior change.  


  • PhD, Health Promotion and Education (Statistics), Southern Illinois University, 1980
  • MA, Health Education (Research Methods), Western Kentucky University, 1977
  • BSE, Community Health and School Health (cum laude), State University of New York at Cortland, 1976
    • New York State Teacher Certificate: Permanent Type: A

Research Interests

Research Summary

Petosa is currently working on research projects that focus on the self regulation and maintenance of physical activity. This includes an investigation into the use of a mentored approach to self-regulated physical activity in Appalachia.


  • 2007 – Present: Professor
  • 1990 – 2006: Associate Professor                 
    • 2005 – Present: Coordinator of Graduate Studies: Health and Exercise Science
    • 2005 – 2010: Chair: Sport, Fitness and Health Program
    • 1999 – 2004: Chair: PAES Undergraduate Studies
    • 1990 – 1996: Coordinator of Graduate Studies: Health Promotion
    • 1993 – 1996: Coordinator of Health Promotion and Education Section
  • 2000 – Present: Adjunct Faculty, Allied Medical Professions, College of Medicine, OSU
  • 1998 – 2009: Center Scholar: Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies, College of Medicine, OSU
  • 1997 – 1998: Visiting Scientist: National Institutes of Health, Sponsor: Dr. Elaine Stone, Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health
  • 1990 – 1992: Adjunct Associate Professor
  • 1986 – 1990: Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
  • 1984 – 1986: Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana          
  • 1980 – 1984: Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska


  • PAES Faculty Teaching Academy, 2011.
  • Fellow: American Academy of Health Behavior, 2009.
  • Robert Russell Visiting Scholar:  Southern Illinois University, 2000.

Selected Grants

  • Healthy Ohioans: Governors’ Office Initiative: Ohio Department of Health (2006), Amount: $74,500 ($24,000 Denison University Research Foundation), Investigators: R. Petosa  Co-Investigators: B. Hortz, E. Stevens. Project: Appalachian Youth Obesity Prevention Project              
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of HHS (2003-2006). Amount: $1,087,000 for 3 years, Investigators: R. Suminski , R. Petosa, Project: Project Comfit: Promotion of Physical Activity at the Community Level
  • Ohio State University Outreach and Engagement Funds (2001-2002), Amount: $39,500, Investigators: R. Suminski R. Petosa, Project: Comfit: Community Promotion of Physical Activity

Selected Publications

  • Peer Mentoring for Health Behavior Change: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Health Education, (in press)
  • Sedentary and Physical Activity Habits of Adolescents with Obesity: American Journal of Health Education, (In press)
  • Flow for Exercise Adherence: Testing an Intrinsic Model of Health Behavior, American Journal of Health Education, 44(5) 2013.
  • An Evaluation of a worksite exercise intervention using the social cognitive theory: A pilot study. Health Education Journal, 70(4) 2012.
  • Impact Evaluation of a Pilot Web based intervention to increase physical activity. American Journal of Health Promotion,25(4) 2011, 227-230.
  • Rates of Physical Activity Among Appalachian Adolescents in Ohio,, Journal of Rural Health,25(1) 2009, 58-61.
  • Social cognitive theory variables mediation of moderate exercise. American Journal of Health Behavior,32(3) 2008: 305-314.
  • “Web Assisted Instruction for Changing Social Cognitive Variables related to Physical Activity” Journal of the  American  College Health  54(4) 2006, 219-225.
  • “A meta-analysis of adolescent psychosocial smoking prevention programs in the United States: Overall results and relative efficacy by theoretical models and setting levels” Health Education and Behavior, 31(6) 2004: 702-719.
  • “Predicting vigorous physical activity using social cognitive theory” American Journal of Health Behavior.  27(4) 2003: 301-310.
  • “Validation of an Instrument for measurement of physical Activity in Youth”   Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29(1) 1997:138-143.

Selected Presentations

  • Measurement and Evaluation in Health Education and Health Promotion, Authors: M. Sharma and R. Petosa Jones and Bartlett Learning, scheduled for Spring of 2012. 
  • R. Petosa,  B. Hortz, C. Cardina, R. Suminski, “Social Cognitive Theory Variables associated with Physical Activity among High School Students” International Journal of Sports Medicine 26(2), 2005: 158-163. Citations 17.
  • M. Langlois, R. Petosa and J. Hallam, “Measuring Self Efficacy and Outcome Expectations for Resisting Social Pressures to Smoke” Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse 15(2) 2005:  1-17. Citations 2.
  • J. Hallam, and R. Petosa, "A Worksite Intervention to Enhance Social Cognitive Theory Constructs to Promote Exercise Adherence" The American Journal of Health Promotion, 13(1) 1998: 4-7. Citations 41.
  • R. Petosa, A. Weston, and R. Pate, “Validation of an Instrument for measurement of physical Activity in Youth”   Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29(1) 1997:138-143. Citations: 230
  • R. Petosa, "Designing Effective AIDS Education for Adolescents: Educational Diagnosis and Program Planning Considerations"   eds. Lawson, G. and Lawson, A., Promoting Adolescent Health, Aspen Publishers, 1992: 463-480.
  • R. Petosa and K. Jackson, "Using the Health Belief Model to predict Safer Sex Intentions among Adolescents"  Health Education Quarterly 18(4) 1991:463-476. Citations 9.
  • R. Petosa and B. Hortz, “Wholistic Wellness and Exercise among Adolescents” in R. Gilman, Promoting Wellness in Children and Youth: A Handbook of Positive Psychology in the Schools" Sage Co. Inc. 2009.
  • R. Petosa, “Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Empircally-Based Health Behavior Program Planning.” in S. Sussman, ed.,   A Handbook of Program Development for Health Behavior Research and Practice., Sage Co. Inc..  2000: 48-76.