Xiangyou (Sharon) Shen

Shen, Xiangyou (Sharon)

Position Type:
Job Title:
Assistant Professor
Forest Ecosystems & Society
Office Location:
212 Richardson Hall
Graduate Major Advisor
Ph.D., Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, 2010
M.S., Tourism Management, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China, 1999
B.S., Civil Engineering and Architecture, Central South University, Changsha, China, 1996
Research Areas
Sustainable Recreation and Tourism
Social Science, Policy and Natural Resources
Research Interests
  • Human Dimensions
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Tourism
  • Play
  • Nature-based recreation and health
I am a social scientist with a background in social psychology of leisure and applied statistics. My research includes two closely linked lines of work: (a) play and playfulness’ assessment, activation, and impact on human health and performances (e.g., adaptive behavior and creativity), and (b) leisure as a broad context and/or mechanism for achieving wellness and fulfillment. In my research, I employ mixed methods (e.g., experiments, surveys, psychometric testing, ethnographic methods, cross-cultural studies) and statistical modeling techniques to understand personal factors, social-cultural influences, and environmental conditions key to achieving human health, active living and wellbeing through play and leisure. My recent work emphasizes interdisciplinary collaborations with diverse stakeholders to develop innovation research and outreach that integrates health intervention and environmental education through nature play and place-based learning. When I am not working, I enjoying reading, jogging, and hiking in the woods.
External (non-CoF) Graduate Students
Leland Masek (Ph.D. student, Communication, Media and Theatre, Tampere University, Finland, 2020 - Present)
Kelly Hoke (Ph.D. student, Environmental Sciences, Oregon State University, 2021 – Present)
Kevin Gallagher (M.S. student, Environmental Sciences, Oregon State University, 2023 – present)
Courses Taught:
  • TRAL 251
    Recreation Resource Management
  • NR 201
    Managing Natural Resources for the Future
  • FES 202
    Software tools in quantitative social science research
  • FES 505
    Nature and Human Health (Reading and Conference)
Selected Publications:
  1. Shen, X., (2023). Play and scientific creativity: A critical review and an integrative theoretical framework. Journal of Creative Behavior.
  2. Shen, X., MacDonald, M., Logan, S. W., Parkinson, C., Gorrell, L., & Hatfield, B. E. (2022). Leisure engagement during covid-19 and its association with mental health and wellbeing in U. S. adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), 1081.
  3. Shen, X., Liu, H., & Song, R. (2021). Toward a culture-sensitive approach to playfulness research: Development of Adult Playfulness Trait Scale-Chinese version and an alternative measurement model. Journal of Leisure Research.
  4. Shen, X. (2020). Constructing an interactionist framework for playfulness research: Adding psychological situations and playful states. Journal of Leisure Research, 51 (5), 536-558.
  5. Shen, X., Hu, T., Pan, B., Chen, K., Qiao, L., & Zhu, J. (2020). Beyond self-selection: The multi-layered online review biases at the intersection of users, platforms and culture. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights.