Mary D. Fry

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Robinson Health and Physical Education Center
Room 161
University of Kansas
1301 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045-7567

Mary Fry is an associate professor in sport and exercise psychology and is the Director of the KU Sport and Exercise Psychology Lab. Mary oversees the graduate program in sport and exercise psychology. She came to KU in 1997 after spending 13 years at the University of Memphis. Her research focuses on creating a caring and task-involving climate for youngsters in physical activity settings. She has co-directed a positive life skills/physical activity program for elementary aged girls called Strong Girls. Mary completed her graduate degrees at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (MS) and Purdue University (PhD). She serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, the Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, and she is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology. She has served on the Executive Board for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

Teaching Interests

  • Sport and exercise psychology
  • Motivation in physical activity
  • Stress management
  • Team building.

Research Interests

  • Sport and exercise psychology
  • Motivational climate
  • Caring climate
  • Motivation in physical activity
  • Achievement goal perspective theory.

Selected Publications

Fry, M. D (2015). Sport and Exercise Psychology as a Venue to Develop “Difference Makers. In . (Ed.), Exercise and Sports for the Curious: Why Study Exercise and Sports.

Fry, M. D, & Brown, T. C (2015). A caring/task-involving climate intervention for youth sport camp leaders. Journal of the Kansas Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance.

Moore, W. E. W. G, Brown, T. C, & Fry, M. D (2015). Psychometric properties of the Abbreviated Perceived Motivational Climate in Exercise Questionnaire. Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science, 19(4), 186-199.

Brown, B. C, & Fry, M. D (2014). College exercise class climates, physical self concept, and psychological well-being. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 8, 299-313.

Brown, B. C, & Fry, M. D (2014). Evaluating the pilot of Strong Girls: A life skills/physical activity program for third and fourth grade girl. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 26, 52-65.

Brown, B. C, & Fry, M. D (2014). Motivational climate, staff and members’ behaviors, and members’ psychological well-being at a large national fitness franchise. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 85, 208-217.

Moore, W. W. E. G., & Fry, M. D (2014). Psychometric support for the Ownership in Exercise and Empowerment in Exercise Scale. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 18, 1-173.

Brown, T. C, & Fry, M. D (2013). Association between females' perceptions of college aerobic class motivational climates and their responses. Women and Health, 53(8), 843-857. DOI:10.1080/03630242.2013.835298

Iwasaki, S., & Fry, M. D (2013). The efforts of sport psychology professionals to assist sport administrators in evaluating youth sport programs. Sport Psychologist, 24(4), 360-371.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Sport & Exercise Psychology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 1994
  • M.S., Sport & Exercise Psychology, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina, 1990
  • B.S., Physical Education, Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, Texas, 1984


Motivation in Youth Research Activity Settings


  • Recipient of the Keeler Professorship (2010)
  • Named a Fellow in the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (2009)

Research Interest(s)

Mary Fry's research interests focus on how a positive and supportive climate can be fostered in physical activity settings that help participants optimize both their experience and performance. Specifically, Mary employs Goal Perspective Theory and a Caring Framework to examine the benefits of creating a positive and supportive climate for athletes, exercisers, and recreational participants. She assists coaches, teachers and administrators with developing strategies to foster a more caring and supportive environment for their athletes and participants. In addition, Mary has a strong interest in incorporating Positive Life Skills in physical activity settings to help children learn to live more joyful lives.

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