Eric Layland

About Me:

Eric Layland

Eric subscribes to Bronfenbrenner’s and Gottlieb’s models of development suggesting multiple, reciprocal levels of individual development. With this perspective, he frames free time as one of several contexts for studying individual development and health in adolescence and early adulthood. With training in both qualitative anthropology and quantitative psychology, Eric uses diverse, advanced methods to examine both broad and narrow questions regarding identity development, health and psychological outcomes, and risk prevention.

As a NIDA Predoctoral Fellow through Penn State’s Prevention Research and Methodology Centers, Eric conducts longitudinal analysis and evaluation of HealthWise South Africa, a substance abuse and sexual risk prevention program using leisure as a prevention context. He collaborates with other scientists to study the impact of alcohol-free recreation on college drinking using a measurement burst design. He also studies the link between identity and risk taking (i.e., substance misuse and sexual risk) with a particular interest in sexual minority identity and resilient protective factors associated with marginalized identity.

Eric’s recent publications include a meta-analysis of family quality and leisure, research on the role of leisure in emerging adult personal identity development, and an evaluation of leisure programming targeted at veterans’ health and families.

Across the university, Eric works as an advocate for LGBT equity and inclusion. He is a member of the President’s Commission for LGBTQ Equity and represents student voices and concerns. Eric also served as a member of the student advisory board for the LGBTQA Student Resource Center. He volunteers as a mentor to undergraduate LGBT students and conducts outreach panels across campus and the community.

Professional Goals:

I aim to develop transdiciplinary research projects between fields of leisure, human development, and cultural anthropology, with emphasis on emerging adults. I look forward to an opportunity to obtain a faculty position at a university where I can develop research and collaborate with other departments and faculty. I enjoy both teaching and research, and look forward to working closely with students both in the classroom and on independent mentored projects. Having worked in community recreation and studied leisure academically, I hope to maintain a solid connection between my research and practitioners.