Susan joined the department in 2017. Her research integrates psychology and tourism by developing and applying positive psychology theories, such as flow, self-determination theory, and reversal theory, to adventure tourism, sport, recreation, and education contexts. Her primary research focuses on links between nature-based adventure and well-being for tourists, recreationalists, tourism guides, and host communities. Her research also focuses on translating theoretical developments into practical applications for tourism guides and the tourism industry. Susan employs a range of methodologies to study how adventure experiences unfold and their long-term impacts, including survey research, autoethnography, and stimulated recall using head-mounted cameras. Additional projects include investigations of how outdoor adventure can promote engagement and intrinsic motivation in physical activity and science education.
Susan’s interests in outdoor adventure, sport, and psychological well-being stem from ten years of whitewater riversurfing guiding in New Zealand, the US and Chile, and competitive soccer experiences in the US, New Zealand, Australia and Spain. She has applied these experiences to develop risk management guidelines for adventure operations; conduct mental skill training workshops for elite youth athletes; and to provide consulting for: government and tourism agencies, the New Zealand riverboarding industry, tour operators in the Galapagos Islands, the History Channel, and the United States Forest Service.
Learn more about Susan's research and projects: