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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

For the love of long walks: Impact of long-distance trail thru-hikes in the United States on environmental attitudes in relation to sustainability
by Redpath, Amanda, M.A., Prescott College, 2016, 220; 10110431
Abstract (Summary)

The act of thru-hiking a long-distance trail immerses hikers in the natural world for an extended time; as such, it represents a compelling system to study the relationships between a specific appreciative activity—thru-hiking—and environmental attitudes regarding sustainability. This thesis critically explored the primary research question: How do thru-hikes change or inspire environmental attitudes in thru-hikers on long-distance trails in the United States? I employed the revised NEP scale to survey 98 thru-hikers using snowball sampling and I interviewed a subset to gain more in-depth knowledge. In addition, I textually analyzed the blogs written by thru-hikers. Findings suggest that environmental attitudes of thru-hikers already leaned in an ecocentric direction before thru-hiking and after thru-hiking, their environmental attitudes became more so. Furthermore, this thesis finds that women had more ecocentric views than men before and after thru-hiking and that more ecocentric attitude change occurred for thru-hikers in their twenties than other age groups. Thru-hikers also chose to express their environmental views through conversations and their actions. And thus, thru-hikes on long-distance trails in the United States have the potential to strengthen and/or reinforce existing ecocentric attitudes in thru-hikers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Matlock, Deb
Commitee: Gannes, Lenny, Sherman, Peter
School: Prescott College
Department: Environmental Studies
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 55/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental education, Environmental Studies
Keywords: Environmental attitudes, Nature immersion, Revised new ecological paradigm scale, Sustainability, Thru-hike
Publication Number: 10110431
ISBN: 978-1-339-73686-0
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