Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An aging population: Relationships between motivations, facilities and services, participation and socio-demographics in outdoor recreation
by Robinson, Karen Faye, M.S., West Virginia University, 2007, 148; 1451750
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine the outdoor recreation behavior of Oregon's aging population, including their motivations, degree of participation and the affect facilities and services have on their outdoor recreation intentions. A stratified random sample of Oregon residents was drawn of Oregon residents, and a mail-back questionnaire was chosen to sample those individuals. Information gathered included their level of outdoor recreation participation, importance of motivations, the affects of facilities and services items and socio-demographic variables. Data collection took place in the summer of 2006 and of the 4,562 surveys mailed, 1,219 surveys were returned revealing a 31% response rate. This thesis utilized only those cases that represented respondents that were 42 to 60 years of age, resulting in a total of 538 responses.

The socio-demographic variables were used to develop a profile of the respondents and determine if any of the variables were dependent upon their outdoor recreation participation through independent sample t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests. Current and expected motivations were compared using a paired t-test in order to identify any significant differences. Linear regression was used to address respondents' importance of motivations and preference for facilities and services items and the affect on their level of participation.

This study shows that Oregon's aging population is similar to the characteristics described within previous recreation literature. However, this study contradicts the notion that this cohort will pursue more adventurous activities than past generations. This aging population is focused on being with friends and family in the outdoors, mainly participating in activities such as walking, jogging, day hiking, sightseeing, and birding. Results also identified that this cohort is inclined to participate more often if recreation opportunities are located closer to home, such as hiking trails and parks.

Results strongly suggest that recreation managers will need to invest resources into the facilities and services demanded by this cohort. Whether these boomers are younger or older, this cohort will likely be running, hiking and biking on Oregon trails. Managers should ensure that an adequate inventory of recreation areas has been completed and funding for improving and building new facilities and providing additional services should be considered. This information will be valuable to recreation managers as they make decisions about the facilities and services that meet the needs of this cohort. With continuous budget constraints and reductions for recreation facilities and services, managers must be prepared to make hard decisions about what facilities and services should be expanded or reduced in concert with future use.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pierskalla, Chad D.
School: West Virginia University
School Location: United States -- West Virginia
Source: MAI 46/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Recreation, Demography
Keywords: Oregon
Publication Number: 1451750
ISBN: 978-0-549-42376-8
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