Weiss’s research with Girls on the Run gives communities what they need to promote successful programs

Maureen Weiss, PhD

School of Kinesiology professor Maureen Weiss, PhD, and co-authors published a longitudinal study evaluating the after-school program Girls on the Run. They researched the program’s effectiveness in promoting positive social, emotional, and physical health outcomes. Their study findings uncovered strong evidence that Girls on the Run is effective in promoting positive youth development, including season-long and lasting positive change in competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and physical activity, as well as reduced sedentary behavior, especially among girls who exhibited lower preseason scores than their peers. (Read more about the study here.) 

Coaches and volunteers run alongside girls in the Girls on the Run High Country end-of-season 5K event held in May. Photo submitted to the Appalachian Today.

Weiss and colleagues’ work has been cited and quoted in a variety of news organizations, including Appalachian Today, High Country Press, WataugaDemocrat.com, and Savannah Morning News, all located in areas with local Girls on the Run programs. In addition, Girls on the Run uses study findings to talk about the impact the program has in their communities. The results of this study have given local programs tangible statistics to back up their work, generate support in the community, and share the program’s success in providing girls with an opportunity to be a part of activities that address both physical and emotional health.