Carol A. Peterson's principal scholarly contributions have been in the area of therapeutic recreation.

She is author of Therapeutic Recreation Program Design and numerous other chapters and articles related to principles and practices of therapeutic recreation, all reflecting subspecialization interests in philosophy, systematic program development, procedures such as assessment, evaluation, and intervention techniques, and professional issues.

Peterson has served as president or chair of state, regional, and national therapeutic recreation professional associations and committees.

She is extensively engaged in professional development of current practitioners through countless workshops and presentations.

Her current interest is in the relationship between leisure and wellness.