Biosketch and Research Overview

Diane L. Gill

Department of Exercise and Sport Science



Diane L. Gill, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research interests focus on physical activity and well-being across the lifespan, with an emphasis on social psychology, particularly gender and cultural diversity. She received both her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois, and her undergraduate degree from the SUNY at Cortland.  She held faculty positions at the University of Waterloo and the University of Iowa before moving to UNCG in January 1987. At UNCG she has served as Associate Dean of the School of Health and Human Performance, Head of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, and as the founding Director of the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness. Her scholarly publications include the text, Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise, several book chapters, and over 100 journal articles.  She has presented over 100 research papers and invited addresses at national and international conferences, and received several awards for her research and professional work. She is a fellow in several professional organizations, a former president of Division 47 (Exercise and Sport Psychology) of the American Psychological Association, of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, and of the Research Consortium of AAHPERD.  She serves on several editorial boards and is former editor of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 


Research Overview

Dr. Gill has been continuously engaged in research and scholarly activity within exercise and sport psychology for over 30 years.  Her research emphasizes social psychology and physical activity, with a focus on physical activity and psychological well-being.  Her early research included laboratory and field research on social influence and motor performance, competitive anxiety, and extended into a line of research on motivational orientation, which included the development of the Competitive Orientation Questionnaire. Her research shifted to focus on social cognitive models and greater emphasis on social context and gender/cultural diversity issues with her move to UNCG.  More recent projects follow two separate, but connected, lines: Cultural Competence in Physical Activity Settings, and Physical Activity and Well-being across the Lifespan.  Current research efforts extend and merge those lines to focus on assessments of psychological well-being and quality of life within the context of community-based programs that promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles for girls and women.


Scholarly Publications and Presentations

            Dr. Gill has over 100 published articles in refereed journals including, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, The Sport Psychologist, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, International Journal of Sport Psychology, Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal, Journal of Motor Behavior, Journal of Human Movement Studies, Women's Health Issues, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, and Quest.  She has presented over 100 refereed research papers at national and international conferences.  She has given several invited presentations including: keynotes at the '94 International Sport Science Congress in Seoul, Korea, and at the Chinese Taipei University Conference on Sport Science and Physical Education, the opening Presentation at the International Conference of the French Society of Sport Psychology in 2000, the 2001 Research Consortium Scholar Lecture at the AAHPERD Convention, and  the Steven R. Heyman invited address at the American Psychological Association Convention in 2005.  Although she continues her research activity and publications, over the last 10 years, Dr. Gill has devoted a large share of her scholarly work to more integrative and applied scholarship.  As well as her own text, Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd ed. under contract) she has several chapters in recent edited texts, including: Sport psychology and fitness activities in the 2006 international volume, Sport psychology: Improving performance in different sports (J. Dosil, Ed.), and an in press chapter, Gender and cultural diversity, for the 3rd edition of the Handbook of Research on Sport Psychology (G. Tenenbaum & R. Eklund, Eds).


Funded Projects and Current Directions 

            Dr. Gill’s research line on cultural competence grew from a long-standing interest in gender issues and extensions of that work to broader areas of cultural diversity.  That research has been funded through two collaborative projects. In 2000-2001, Dr. Gill, with co-investigator Ron Morrow, received a Wayne F. Placek Grant Award from the American Psychological Foundation for the project: Increasing Understanding and Promoting Inclusive Professional Practice in Exercise and Sport, which aimed at increasing understanding and developing skills for exercise and sport science professionals that promote a safe, inclusive environment.  That project and related collaborative work with colleague Dr. Kathy Jamieson led to our recent project, Promoting Cultural Competence among Physical Activity Professionals, which was funded as an AAUW Scholar-in-Residence Award in 2003-2004.  Our goal is to work in partnership with schools and leisure service providers to develop physical activity programs that truly enhance the health and well-being of all girls and women.

As well as continuing research on cultural competence and inclusive practice in physical activity, Dr. Gill has focused on research related to physical activity and well-being for community girls and women.  Over the last 3 years she has collaborating with and provided evaluation services for the YWCA and several related community agencies on community physical activity projects funded through the Moses Cone - Wesley Long Community Health Foundation.  Dr. Gill received funding from the foundation for the project, Physical Activity and Health Evaluation Services in 2003-2004, and these collaborations continue as Dr. Gill is currently pursuing funding for an extended larger research project on promoting lifestyle physical activity and enhanced quality of life for women and girls in our community.