MARIA NEWTON, PhD portrait
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Health-Kinesiology
  • Associate Professor, Health and Kinesiology

Research Summary

My research has focused on optimizing the experience and motivation of individuals in physical activity settings. In doing so, I have examined how both dispositional goals and perceptions of the setting influence motivation. A majority of my research has examined how performer’s perceptions of task, ego, and caring climates influence such outcomes as anxiety, enjoyment, cognitions, and character development.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Physical Education and Art History, University of California, Davis
  • Master of Arts, Sport Psychology, California State University, Chico
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Sport and Exercise Psychology , Purdue University


After spending my youth moving all over the United States I received undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Davis in Art History and Kinesiology.  Even though I loved art history I certainly did not have the wardrobe to be a museum curator so I ventured on to graduate school in sport psychology.  I received my Masters degree at the California State University, Chico and went on to earn my PhD from Purdue University.  I arrived at the University of Utah in 2000 after being on faculty at the University of New Orleans for seven years.  Even though I love Utah I have a soft spot for New Orleans and return every year to support the people and culture of Louisiana.  I enjoy teaching sport and exercise psychology, sociology of sport, motivation as well as mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.  I am an avid reader, swimmer, hiker, golfer and tennis player.