Valeria Freysinger

Valeria FreysingerEmeriti Professor

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S., York College of PA

Scholarly Focus

My scholarly background is in leisure and adult development/aging. My scholarly work primarily focuses on three related areas: 1) Gendered experiences of leisure across the life course; 2) The relationship between leisure and adult development/aging; and 3) Issues of opportunity and constraint (age, gender, race, and social class), globalization, and sustainability in leisure.

Three related issues have shaped my scholarship:
1) Beginning in the early 1980s there was a significant paradigm shift in the way that leisure was defined and hence, studied. Rather than being defined objectively as time or activity, leisure increasingly was defined subjectively; that is, by individuals’ perceptions of choice. This thinking supported the emergence of qualitative approaches to research - my primary research approach and area of research expertise.
2) Even though it is contended that leisure enhances wellbeing and development in adulthood, little is known about just how and why leisure does so; and even less is known about the intersections of leisure, aging and gender (as well as culture, race, and social class). Understanding leisure as a context for and practice of aging has been another area of scholarly interest.
3) Since the paradigm shift in leisure studies in the 1980s, there has been much debate about the centrality of choice or freedom to leisure and about the distribution of choice and freedom across individuals in our society and globally. Most recently, because of the influence of cultural studies and critical sociology the notion that leisure is “always positive” or “necessarily beneficial” has been questioned. Leisure in relation to larger concerns of social justice, globalization, and sustainability has become a focus. My scholarship also addresses these issues.

Finally, because of teaching and supervising students who are particularly interested in sport and physical activity participation (SLAM and SL students) or leisure, physical activity and “successful aging” (GTY students), in my classes and work with students I explore and address sport/physical activity participation in the context of leisure and as leisure practices.

Research Publications

Freysinger, V. J. (2016). Leisure in middle adulthood. In F. McGuire & D. Kleiber (Eds.), Leisure and human development (pp. 243-270). Urbana, IL: Sagamore Publishing.

Freysinger, V. J. (2016). Acting our age: Leisure across the course of life. In M. T. Allison & I. E. Schneider (Eds.). Diversity issues and the recreation profession: Organizational perspectives (3rd ed.) (pp. 51-74). State College, PA: Venture Publishing.

Weinberg, R., Freysinger, V. J., Mellano, K., & Brookhouse, E. (2016). Building mental toughness: Perceptions of sport psychologists. The Sport Psychologist, 30(3), 231-241.

Weinberg, R., Freysinger, V. J., & Mellano, K. (23 Dec, 2016). How can coaches build mental toughness? Views from sport psychologists. Sport Psychology in Action, 1-10; published online

Freysinger, V. J. (2015). Play in the context of lifespan human development. In D. P. Fromberg & D. Bergen (Eds.), Play from birth to twelve: Contexts, perspectives and meanings (3rd ed.) (pp. 53-62). NY: Garland Publishing.

Matthews, D., Ubbes, V., & Freysinger, V. J. (2014, April 9). Elementary school educators’ perceptions of rhythmic experiences in classroom learning. Journal of Early Childhood Research.

Freysinger, V. J., Shaw, S. M., Henderson, K. A., & Bialeschki, M. D. (2013). Women, gender, and leisure. State College, PA: Venture Publishing.

Coppola, A., Ward, R. M., & Freysinger, V. J. (2013). Coaches’ communication of sport body image: Experiences of female athletes. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.

Paule, A., Harris, O. & Freysinger, V. J. (2013). "What do I think about Title IX?" Voices from a university community. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 84, 115-125.