Research Summary

I use a variety of methods to assess the psycho-social dimensions of recreation on health and wellbeing. Projects are collaborative efforts with parks and recreation professionals, physicians, and psychologists, with an aim of better establishing recreation and leisure for preventative health. I also have expertise in prejudice, discrimination, and the role of social stigma on behavior. Additional interests include food as a cultural phenomenon, and the role of leisure in subjective wellbeing.


  • B.A., History (Environmental Sciences), The College of Wooster
  • M.S., Leisure Studies (Services Marketing), Penn State University
  • Ph.D., Leisure Studies (Sport & Health Psychology), Penn State University. Project: Tomboys & Sissies? The Effects of Gender Stigma on Children's Activity


Dorothy “Dart” Schmalz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation at the University of Utah. Dr. Schmalz holds a B.A. from The College of Wooster in History with a concentration in environmental sciences, an M.S. from Penn State in Leisure Studies with a concentration in services marketing, and a Ph.D. from Penn State in Leisure Studies with a minor in health and sport psychology. Upon completing her Ph.D. in 2004, Dr. Schmalz held a position as a Research Associate in the Childhood Obesity Research Lab at Penn State. Prior to coming to the University of Utah, she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University. 

Dr. Schmalz’s research focuses on the influence of prejudice, discrimination, and stigma on the adoption of and engagement in health behaviors. She is also interested in research exploring social media use on emotional health, the interdisciplinary perspectives between leisure, public health, and positive psychology, and building partnerships between clinical healthcare and leisure services to better serve communities.