Shen, Xiangyou (Sharon)

Position Type: 
Job Title: 
Visiting Assistant Professor
Forest Ecosystems & Society
Office Location: 

212 Richardson Hall

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
Psychometrics, Cross-cultural Studies
I am a social scientist with a background in social psychology of leisure and applied statistics. My research includes two lines of work linked by a common thread of leisure and health: (a) the assessment and activation of play and playfulness and their impact on human functions (e.g., adaptability and creativity), and (b) leisure as a context and mechanism for achieving wellness and fulfillment. In my research, I employ mixed methods (surveys, interviews, focus groups, experiments, etc.), psychometrics, statistical modeling, indigenous and cross-cultural research methods to understand environmental and social-cultural conditions as well as personal factors key to human health and wellbeing. Current projects focus on integrated studies of leisure and environment on physical and mental health, and the mechanisms to cultivate active lifestyles across the lifespan. When I am not working, I enjoying reading, exploring my surroundings (while jogging), and hiking in the woods.


Graduate Major Advisor
Graduate Students: 
External (non-CoF) Graduate Students: 
  • Leland Masek (Ph.D. student, Game Studies, Tampere University, Finland, 2020 - Present)
  • Kelly Hoke (Ph. D student, Environmental Studies, Oregon State University, 2021 – 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., 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.
  2. Shen, X. (2020). Constructing an interactionist framework for playfulness research: Adding psychological situations and playful states. Journal of Leisure Research, 51 (5), 536-558. DOI: 10.1080/00222216.2020.1748551
  3. Shen, X., & Yarnal, C. (2010). Blowing open the serious leisure-casual leisure dichotomy: What’s in there? Leisure Sciences, 32 (2), 162-179.
  4. Godbey, G., Crawford, D., & Shen, X. (2010). Assessing the constraints theory after two decades. Journal of Leisure Research, 42 (1), 111-134.