The 1995 NRPA Leisure Research Symposium

Article excerpt

NRPA's 1995 Leisure Research Symposium (LRS) held in conjunction with the NRPA Congress in San Antonio in October, brought together researchers, educators, and practitioners from North America and around the world to hear about and discuss the latest research on leisure, recreation and parks. Highlighting the importance of the LRS and the appeal of an increasing number of new LRS presentation formats, more abstracts were submitted for presentation this year than in previous years. Over 125 abstracts were accepted by session coordinators and reviewers for presentation in 10 different topical sessions, an all-day poster session, and two special thematic sessions: one focused on "An Outcomes Oriented Approach to the Management of Leisure Services and Programs" and the other on "Leisure and Families." New this year were three "Open Forum Brown Bags" held over the noon hour Friday. These Brown Bags provided researchers and practitioners a forum in which to share research ideas, needs, and interests. The Brown Bags included discussion of the relationship between research question and design, recreation's place in "Agricultural" schools, and preparing abstracts for submission to the LRS and other conferences.

The purpose of the research presented at the LRS is to further understanding of leisure and recreation behavior, theory and practice. Research was presented in poster and paper sessions that focused on management, aspects of leisure over the lifespan, outdoor recreation, tourism, sociological aspects of leisure, leisure programs and services for special populations, leisure research and the humanities, psychological and social-psychological aspects of leisure, methodology and statistics, and curriculum and professional preparation.

Poster Session

Once again the LRS included a poster session in addition to the traditional verbal presentation format. The poster session continues to improve each year and attract more participants--both presenters and "consumers." Rather than focusing on a particular topic or theme, the poster session represents the broad spectrum of topics and basic and applied research presented at the Symposium and allows individuals to interact one-on-one.

Leisure behavior research including gender differences, women and leisure, drug use, and aspects of leisure over the lifespan were the focus of a number of posters. Morris (1995) found that males and females differed in their attribution explanations for success and failure in leisure experiences. When a social failure occurred, females viewed the experience more negatively than males; however, females also viewed success as being more unstable. In a study of college students' marginal leisure pursuits, Tucker and Shinew (1995) concluded that there was a significant difference between male and female viewing and ownership of pornographic material, but there was not a significant difference in alcohol consumption, drug use, or gambling. Pennington and Kerstetter (1995) found that women born in more recent generations perceived excitement and physical activities as benefits of pleasure travel whereas older generations considered social and educational benefits of such travel to be more important. Scheltens (1995) suggested that adolescents who participate in interactive leisure involvement with family members are less likely to drink alcohol or are light users of alcohol. In another study of adolescents, McGinnis and Munsch (1995) concluded that socially isolated adolescents participate less than other adolescents in activities related to school and leisure. Furthermore, they suggested that an increased understanding of social networks may be attained by examining adolescents' leisure activity participation.

Six papers presented in the poster session dealt with issues related to outdoor recreation management. Among these papers, Hammitt and Rutlin (1995) examined privacy encounter standards in three wilderness areas. They determined that the degree of privacy achieved is an improvement over satisfaction and crowding as a measure to investigate enjoyment and encounters in a wildland recreation setting. …