Memories of school recess predict physical activity enjoyment and social-emotional well-being in adults

  • Psychology of Sport and Exercise
  • April 20, 2021

William V.Massey, Alexandra Szarabajko, Janelle Thalken, Deanna Perez, Sean P. Mullen

This study examined adults’ memories of their recess experience and how they are associated with various aspects of adulthood, such as social isolation, meaning, and purposes, physical activity enjoyment.

Key findings included:
  • Memories of recess exclusion were associated with social isolation in adulthood.
  • Memories of recess enjoyment were associated with meaning and purpose in adulthood.
  • Memories of recess enjoyment were associated with physical activity enjoyment in adulthood.
  • Recess had an indirect effect on adult physical activity via physical activity enjoyment.
The associations continue to strengthen the case that “not only are early PA environments important for future PA attitudes and behaviors, but early PA environments also help shape social and emotional well-being.”

Related Studies

February 1, 2016

Building A Culture of Health Through Safe and Healthy Elementary School Recess ›

The Playworks TeamUp program can help schools make recess more organized and safe, and ensure healthy play is taking place. Participating schools reported improvements in recess organization, students’ familiarity with…

May 11, 2018

Evidence-based Strategies for Socially, Emotionally and Physically Beneficial School Recess ›

Based on the evidence obtained from the authors’ investigation with Playworks participants and coaches, five strategies were identified for health and physical education practitioners to consider in the implementation of…

students playing on blacktop
students playing on blacktop

December 4, 2019

High quality recess contributes to positive student behaviors in elementary school children ›

A recent study on the connection between recess quality and student behavior found that the quality of recess contributed to student’s executive function, emotional self-control, resilience, and positive classroom behavior.…