Eva Oberle

Wall Associate


Assistant Professor


School of Population and Public Health





Geographic Location

Eva Oberle

Eva is an Assistant Professor with the Human Early Learning Partnership in SPPH. She completed graduate studies in psychology at the University of Heidelberg, earned a PhD in educational psychology from UBC, and conducted postdoctoral research at UIC and CASEL in Chicago. Her research investigates factors linked to positive child development and strategies for promoting mental health and wellbeing in the school context in particular. Her main focus is on social and emotional learning in schools, risk and resilience, and positive youth development. Eva is interested in the role of peer relationships, relationships with adults (e.g., family members, teachers, mentors), and school-level factors (e.g., classroom climate) in achieving positive, healthy, and successful child outcomes. She conducts quantitative research with population-based data, intervention evaluations, and large-scale cross sectional and longitudinal studies. Eva takes a whole-child approach, understanding child development within the ecological contexts in which children grow (i.e., home, school, neighbourhood, society)

Primary Recipient Awards

Eva Oberle – International Research Roundtables – 2018

Levelling the playing fields: Developing strategies to promote outdoor play in schools and communities

Project website

Free outdoor play—such as jumping in a pile of leaves, and climbing trees—is a child’s right and has a wide range of benefits. It is active, fosters creativity, teaches children about their natural environment, and promotes positive cognitive, social, and emotional development. Over the past decades, outdoor play has declined sharply while sedentary activities have increased steadily. This trend is linked to serious health problems, including childhood obesity and mental health problems. Scholars and child’s right activists globally are concerned and have called for action to offset this trend.

Our Roundtable intends to develop a strategy for systematically creating opportunities for outdoor play in communities and schools in Canada.

  1. Expert researchers, stakeholders, policy makers, and practitioners will develop a common theoretical framework for defining and measuring outdoor play by synthesizing the diverse theoretical and practical perspectives that are held on this topic.
  2. We will identify key indicator questions for measuring outdoor play, and make a plan for developing, validating, and testing a “Play Assessment Module”; a foundational step towards advancing advocacy efforts and develop policies and practice.
  3. We will discuss how to incorporate the “Play Assessment Module” into an existing infrastructure for population-level longitudinal child development assessment across Canada, including the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP, UBC). This step is critical to achieve a sustainable system of assessing, monitoring, and improving outdoor play in communities. Through our discussions, we expect to achieve the consensus that is needed to advance and catalyze research, policy, and practice of outdoor play.

Co-Principal Investigator Awards

Blair Johnson – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2020

One of Dr. Johnson’s main contributions to the field is developing an interdisciplinary theory that synthesizes contemporary thinking on networks, individuals, and resources. He developed the Network Individual Resource Model (NIR) – a model that emphasizes that risk for any individual (or network) depends reciprocally on the dynamics between individuals and networks.

He plans to connect with a wide range of scholars at UBC to work on a new theory that builds on and extends his NIR Model, developed in relation to HIV/AIDS prevention, to be both broader (i.e., applicable to more health outcomes) and more specific. The original theory of behavior bridges individual, dyadic, and structural levels. As such, it is naturally poised well to benefit from theoretical perspectives at these different levels, which also imply different but overlapping disciplines.