Building School Connectedness Through Structured Recreation During School: A Concurrent Mixed-Methods Study

Kylie Wilson, Kelly Ramella, Allison Poulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: School connectedness (SC) is associated with improved health and academic outcomes. The purposes of this study were to explore factors contributing to students' perceptions of SC and if participation in structured recreation at school was associated with SC. METHODS: We used concurrent mixed-methods including cross-sectional qualitative data to explore factors contributing to SC among fifth- and sixth-grade students at 2 schools in Phoenix, AZ, USA (N = 330), and quantitative measures to explore the association between SC and recreation participation (N = 129). Students completed a journaling activity to identify factors contributing to feelings of SC. Responses were analyzed using both deductive and inductive approaches. Student surveys were analyzed using 1-way analyses of variance to assess differences between participation level and SC. RESULTS: Eight themes contributing to SC emerged: Relationships (peer, adult), Competence (competence), Autonomy (choice), Relax (relax), Recreation (structured, play), Fun (fun), Academics (academic learning), and Environment (food and safety). Participation in structured recreation programming in the classroom and at recess were associated with higher levels of SC (p <.05). CONCLUSIONS: School practitioners can integrate opportunities for structured recreation in the classroom and at recess as a fun and engaging strategy to foster adult support and peer relationships, enhancing SC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1021
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • adolescents
  • recess
  • school connectedness
  • self-determination
  • structured recreation
  • student well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Building School Connectedness Through Structured Recreation During School: A Concurrent Mixed-Methods Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this