Research/Current Projects

Psychosocial Physical Activity Laboratory

NASPSPA Presentations

“And I still remember it to this day:” A qualitative exploration of retrospective memories of school-based recess

  "And I still remember it to this day"

School-based physical activity in elementary school: Does positive affect at recess play a role?

  NASPSPA Presentation Thalken et al. (2022)

Child-based solutions to improve recess: A qualitative focus group exploration

  NASPSPA Focus Groups

The effects of a school-based recess intervention on recess quality, bullying, and exclusion

  NASPSPA Recess Intervention

Recess Initiative

Although there has been an ongoing increase in the evidence base as how to increase the quality of school-recess, and children’s engagement in play and social skill building at recess, there remains a notable research-to-practice implementation gap. The RECESS Initiative is designed to fill this implementation gap through (a) collecting data that links school policy to school practices; (b) providing data driven recommendations to schools that are informed by both local data and best practices within the literature; (c) training university students to assist schools in facilitating recess interventions and; (d) providing university support to help facilitate data driven interventions in schools. If you would like to partner with us to develop and conduct data driven interventions that will improve the quality of recess at your school, please contact


Recess Quality

School-based recess is a critical time during the school day for children to be physically active, play, and interact with peers. While much discourse and legislative decisions have recently surrounded recess time in elementary school, our lab is dedicated to understanding how to improve the quality of the recess environment. In doing so, we have partnered with a national organization, Playworks (, to develop and validate the Great Recess Framework as a tool to better understand quality recess ( If you are interested in recess evaluation at your school, please contact William Massey at


Social Fitness Club

Social Fitness Club (SFC) is a program for youth in out of home care that focuses on engagement in various exercise, play and sport activities that promote positive social interactions. The program is intended to engage and introduce the participants to the weight room and gymnasium, while promoting social skills like communication, leadership, and negotiation. SFC runs in eight-week sessions every summer, fall, winter and spring, and meets once a week for approximately 90 minutes.


Recess Outcomes Study

Our lab is currently recruiting and enrolling schools in our recess outcomes study. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between school recess policy, time allotted for recess, and observed recess quality, on elementary school children’s social development and classroom behavior. If you are interested in having your school participate in this study, please contact William Massey at


Active Together

The purpose of this research study is to examine the impact of a physical activity and self-regulation intervention (‘Active Together’) on physical activity among adolescent girls. For more information or to enroll in this study, please contact Janelle Thalken