Jessie Bennett

Jessie Bennett, PhD, CTRS/L is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation Management and Policy. She received her B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation from Green Mountain College, her M.S. in Youth and Family Recreation from Brigham Young University, and her Ph.D. in Leisure Behavior from Indiana University. After completing her B.S., she worked as a recreational therapist (RT) for a residential rehabilitation center for children with developmental disabilities. During her M.S. and PhD., she worked as a RT with military service members with combat-related disabilities and their families. She has extensive clinical training as an RT, with most of her career working as an RT in adaptive sports programs for Veterans with disabilities. Employing primarily mixed methodologies, her research is focused on examining the outcomes of RT programs for Veterans with physical and psychological disabilities. She has worked with Northeast Passage to collect data on the outcomes of the PATH™ model.


  • Ph.D., Parks, Recreation and Leisure, Indiana University - Bloomington
  • M.S., Parks, Recreation and Leisure, Brigham Young University
  • B.S., Therapeutic Recreation, Green Mountain College

Research Interests

  • Anxiety
  • Behavior and Health
  • Behavior Modification
  • Depression
  • Disabled Veterans
  • Emotional/Mental Health
  • Health, Allied Fields
  • Mental Disorders/Illness
  • Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Recreational & Leisure Activities
  • Rehabilitation for People With Disabilities
  • Rehabilitation/Therapy, Emotional/Social
  • Rehabilitation/Therapy, Physical
  • Social/Recreation Services for People With Disabilities
  • Substance Abuse
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Veterans

Courses Taught

  • 501: Rec Serv Indiv w/Disabilities
  • 504: Therp Rec Mental Hlth Princple
  • 563: Rec Mgt & Policy Practicum
  • 612: Ther Comm Tech in TR
  • 963: Graduate Field Practicum
  • 970: Teaching Practicum
  • 980: Independent Study
  • RMP 501: Rec Serv Indiv w/Disabilities
  • RMP 504: Therp Rec Mental Hlth Princple
  • RMP 563: Rec Mgt & Policy Practicum
  • RMP 612: Ther Comm Tech in TR
  • RMP 796: Independent Study
  • RMP 800: Concepts Recreation & Leisure
  • RMP 980: Independent Study

Selected Publications

Bennett, J. L., Craig, P., Aytur, S., Thompson, T., Roscoe, H. S., & Gravink, J. (2022). Community-Based Recreational Therapy for Veterans with Behavioral Health Disorders: Impacts on Quality of Life, Participation, and Happiness. COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH JOURNAL. doi:10.1007/s10597-022-00962-6

Craig, P. J., Alger, D. M., Bennett, J. L., & Martin, T. P. (2020). The Transformative Nature of Fly-Fishing for Veterans and Military Personnel with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. THERAPEUTIC RECREATION JOURNAL, 54(2), 150-172. doi:10.18666/TRJ-2020-V54-I2-9965

Townsend, J., Hawkins, B. L., Bennett, J. L., Hoffman, J., Martin, T., Sotherden, E., & Bridges, W. (2018). Preliminary long-term health outcomes associated with recreation-based health and wellness programs for injured service members. COGENT PSYCHOLOGY, 5(1). doi:10.1080/23311908.2018.1444330

Bennett, PhD, CTRS, J. L., Piatt, PhD, CTRS, J. A., Townsend, PhD, CTRS, J., & Taylor, MS, CTRS, J. (2017). If you don't measure it, you won't improve it: The advancement of recreational therapy through collaborative research. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 16(3), 7. doi:10.5055/ajrt.2017.0136

Bennett, J. L., Piatt, J. A., & Van Puymbroeck, M. (2017). Outcomes of a Therapeutic Fly-Fishing Program for Veterans with Combat-Related Disabilities: A Community-Based Rehabilitation Initiative. COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH JOURNAL, 53(7), 756-765. doi:10.1007/s10597-017-0124-9

Thompson, C. V., Bennett, J. L., Sable, J. R., & Gravink, J. (2016). Northeast Passage PATH (TM) Program A Strengths-Based and Recovery-Oriented Approach for Veterans Who Experience Mental Health Disorders. THERAPEUTIC RECREATION JOURNAL, 50(2), 138-154. doi:10.18666/TRJ-2016-V50-I2-6788

Townsend, J., Hawkins, B., & Bennett, J. L. (2014). Military service members. In D. R. Austin, M. E. Crawford, B. McCormick, & M. Van Puymbroeck (Eds.), Recreational Therapy: An Introduction (4th ed., pp. 253-278). Urbana, IL: Sagamore Publishing.

Vella, E. J., Milligan, B., & Bennett, J. L. (2013). Participation in Outdoor Recreation Program Predicts Improved Psychosocial Well-Being Among Veterans With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Pilot Study. MILITARY MEDICINE, 178(3), 254-260. doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-12-00308

Bennett, J., Thompson, C., Craig, P. J., Aytur, S., & Gravink, J. (2018, September 13). Community-based recreational therapy for Veterans with disabilities: Impacts on functioning and quality of life.. In ATRA Annual Conference, Research Institute. Grand Rapids, MI.

Townsend, J., Hawkins, B., Bennett, J., Franklin, T., Hoffman, J., & Lundberg, N. (2015, October 22). Examining the Health Outcomes Associated with Participation in Veteran-Centered Therapeutic Recreation Services. In 2nd Annual R4 Alliance Membership Conference. The Villiages, FL.

Most Cited Publications