Faculty and Staff Directory » Spyridoula Vazou

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Spyridoula Vazou

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Kinesiology

Office: 0111f Forker 534 Wallace Rd., Ames, IA 50011
Phone number: +1 515 294 8677
Email: svazou@iastate.edu

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Research interests

  • My research focuses primarily on motivating children and adolescents to be physically active with the ultimate goal of preventing childhood obesity.
  • To fulfill this objective, my research activities are centered around three main themes:
  • (1) the dynamic nature of peer relationships and interactions in exercise and physical activity environments (in the classroom, in physical education, and in youth sport) that influence children's motivation and behavior,
  • (2) integrating physical activity with academic lessons in the school classroom and the preschool environment and its effects on cognitive function, motivation, and academic achievement, and
  • (3) the relationship of physical activity with affect and motivation in normal-weight and overweight children and adolescents.
  • My work draws primarily from Achievement Goal Theory (Ames, 1992; Nicholls, 1989) and Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000).
  • My research was the first to tap the unique aspects of peer influence in achievement motivation and to assess the unique dimensions of the peer motivational climate by interviewing young athletes and developing the PeerMCYSQ, Ntoumanis & Vazou(2005)
  • I recently collaborated with Team Nutrition, Iowa Department of Education and developed the "Move for Thought" kit, which integrates Physical Activities with any academic subject in the elementary school classroom. A new collaboration with the same group will result in developing the "Move for Thought-preschoolers" in 2014, which will integrate movement with pre-academic concepts in the preschool environment.
  • Current research activities: - Examining the feasibility of classroom-based physical activities and their role on children's motivation, cognition, phsyical activity levels and academic achievement. -Examining the role of structured PE on behavioral control and PA levels in preschoolers. -Examining the  self-determined motivation of teachers to successfully implement activity breaks (JAM Minnutes) at school.
  • I serve as a reviewer for several journals in the fields of sport and exercise psychology, physical education, and exercise science.