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
  • 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 lines of work linked by a common thread of leisure and health: (a) play and playfulness’ assessment, activation, and 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 (e.g., surveys, experiments, interviews, focus groups), psychometric testing, statistical modeling, and cross-cultural research methods to understand personal, environmental, and social-cultural factors key to human health and wellbeing. Current projects focus on integrated studies of human-environment interactions as they intersect with leisure and impact people’s physical and mental health, as well as 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
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., 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.
  2. Kerstetter, D., Shen, X., Yi, X., Pan, B., Zhang, G., Li, R., Gao, J., & Li, G. (2022). Sources of happiness: a mixed methods phenomenological study of factors affecting residents’ subjective wellbeing in Shenzhen, China. Psychological Reports, 125(1), 167–199.
  3. Shen, X., Liu, H., & Song, R. (2021). Toward a culture-sensitive approach to playfulness research: Development of the Adult Playfulness Trait Scale-Chinese version and an alternative measurement model. Journal of Leisure Research, 52(4), 401–423.
  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. DOI: 10.1080/00222216.2020.1748551
  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.