The late childhood and early adolescent years mark both intensified interest in peers and the beginning of a progressive decline in physical activity. Are peer relationships meaningfully tied to youth physical activity motivation during this developmental period? If so, can peers be harnessed as an agent for promotion of physical activity behavior? We are interested in these questions, which not only have public health implications but also place young people as active, central agents in their own development.


When structured appropriately, sport holds potential to foster positive developmental outcomes for young participants. However, positive outcomes are not automatic. Aside from our work on peers, we have interest in issues such as sport parenting, sibling dynamics, positive youth development, and contributors to sport continuation. Our work is in the interest of best understanding the psychosocial context of youth sport. Such understanding will enable us to construct strategies to foster positive and developmentally meaningful sport-based experiences for young people.


For those intensively involved in sport, the physical training demands and psychological pressures can mount to produce maladaptive outcomes. Of particular concern in a small subset of athletes is burnout – a condition characterized by exhaustion, reduced feelings of accomplishment, and a devaluing of one’s sport involvement. We have been involved in efforts to measure and predict this maladaptive condition, which interferes with athlete performance and well-being.


Anecdotal reports from parents and teachers, as well as those who suffer from Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), suggest that physical activity may offer a pathway for managing ADHD symptoms and impairments. In collaboration with colleagues in clinical psychology, behavioral neuroscience, motor control, and physical education pedagogy, we study the potential for school-based physical activity programming to assist with psychological, social, behavioral, and motor functioning in young children with ADHD.