Open, nonjudgmental attention to one’s present experience during physical activity may optimize immediate and long-term psychological benefits as well as motivation to engage in physical activity. We are currently investigating the role of mindfulness during yoga and other modes of physical activity. We have created a measure of state mindfulness during physical activity, which we use to explore how to foster mindful experiences and explore outcomes of being mindful while moving.
A compassionate stance toward the self in times of suffering through mindfulness, self-kindness, and a sense of common humanity reflects a resilience factor for adaptively managing cognitive and emotional experiences. We are currently exploring self-compassion in relation to how we experience body-related emotions and physical activity motivation and behavioral outcomes in adolescent and young adult populations.
Body Image and Embodiment
Adults and youth alike are increasingly dissatisfied with the appearance of their bodies. We study how body image disturbance plays a role in physical activity experiences and motivation. We study strategies to foster positive embodiment for optimal well-being.
Physical Activity Motivation
We use several theoretical frameworks for optimizing motivation. We use Self-Determination Theory to identify the types of motivation that will lead to the greatest enjoyment, effort and long-term physical activity behavior as well as the key social and psychological predictors of motivation. We also use Affective Reflective Theory, which emphasizes the role of affective experiences while moving as a critical component of creating positive associations with movement and physical activity. We explore ways to maximize positive experiences with movement that lead to long-term engagement in physical activity.
Positive Youth Development
The philosophy underlying positive youth development (PYD) is that all youth have the potential for positive growth and well-being and intentionally designed opportunities can build strengths and assets. We study how physical activity contexts can provide an ideal platform for PYD programs to maximize physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development.
Psychology of Physical Activity Laboratory
Smith Gym 213-A
Department of Kinesiology and Educational Psychology
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164