15th NRPA Leisure Research Symposium Offers Something for Everyone
Henderson, Karla A., Bedini, Leandra A., Parks & Recreation
EDITOR'S NOTE: Karla A. Henderson, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Leandra A. Bedini, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Research Update Co-Editors
The 15th Annual NRPA Leisure Research Symposium, a component of the 1992 NRPA Congress held in Cincinnati, was a veritable smorgasbord of the ever-broadening dimensions of leisure research. Not unlike other years, more than 90 papers were presented which involved almost twice that many individuals as authors, session coordinators, keynote speakers and reviewers. The topics ranged from discussions of tourism impact scales (Ap, 1992) to an analysis of leisure, science and religion in 17th century England (Sylvester, 1992).
The symposium provides a forum for both practitioners and educators to share and learn about current and relevant research. Linda Caldwell of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and Carol Cutler Riddick of Gallaudet University served as the co-chairs for this year's symposium. Three-page abstracts were submitted in early March and were selected for presentation by a review panel. The sessions addressed in 1992 were: tourism; aspects of leisure over the lifespan; methodology, statistics, and design aspects; sociological aspects; psychological/social psychological aspects, management of leisure programs and services; curriculum and professional preparation; outdoor planning and management; leisure research and the humanities; and leisure programs and services for special populations.
The research presentations addressed both theoretical and practical concerns related to leisure studies and leisure services. The purpose of research is to discover theoretical and methodological or applied and practical answers to questions by applying systematic research procedures. Some of the questions answered by researchers in this year's symposium addressed theory and how research can contribute to a better understanding of the phenomena of leisure. For example, Barnett's (1992) discussion of maximizing the error in children's play research provided insight for improving research methods. An example of applied research could be found in Pedlar, Gilbert and Gove's (1992) study of how to start the process of facilitating integration and ensuring equal access to community leisure and recreation for all older adults. The entire symposium was replete with examples of theoretical and applied research as well as combinations of the two. Much could be learned by both practitioners and educators who attended these sessions.
The Research Symposium opening session, offered for the first time this year for CEU credits, was entitled "The New American Diversity: Examining Multicultural Issues in Leisure Research." After an opening address, the participants divided into small groups to discuss how' multicultural issues in leisure research might have implications for public policy and service delivery, education and training, and for social psychological research.
Although the subsequent symposium papers addressed many topics, it seemed that women and people of color emerged as groups who were given more consideration in this year's sessions than in the past. Further, the topic of constraints as it pertained to social psychology as well as to lifespan development and practice was a frequent topic of research. Additionally, topics addressing empowerment and integration of groups were prominent.
All abstracts of the research presentations can be found in "Abstracts from the 1992 Symposium on Leisure Research" which is available for purchase from NRPA. Besides a summary of the research, each abstract also includes the name and address of the author(s) so that they may be contacted for additional information. If any of the following summaries interest you, please get a copy of the abstracts and contact the author directly for further information.
The Tourism sessions had several papers that addressed various aspects of festivals and special events. Turco (1992) concluded that to minimize the nonresident loss of economic impact, event organizers should grant local vendors sales opportunities as long as such businesses meet event standards for service quality and variety. Love and Crompton (1992) concluded from their study of a Texas festival that a single measure of service quality is likely to be of limited use and that a combination of several measures will reveal more in terms of appropriate corrective action to be taken with respect to improving quality.
The Leisure across the Lifespan session addressed older adults and college students with several presentations. Boyd and Tedrick (1992) found that the older black women they interviewed saw a high relationship between life satisfaction and their commitment to leisure activities. Iso-Ahola, Jackson, and Dunn (1992) examined starting, replacing and ceasing leisure activity across the lifespan and concluded that advancing age is associated with increasing stability in leisure behavior and that experimentation is highest among the youngest respondents and declines with age. Ragheb and McKinney (1992) found that the more college students participated in recreational activities and the more satisfied they were with these activities, the less they perceived academic stress. Similarly, Gitelson and Thomason (1992) reported a substantial change in college students' recreation patterns going from high Continued on next page school to college with a result in the adoption of new activities by replacing or reducing previous activities. Conner and Teaff (1992) learned through their research that participation in extracurricular activities by African American college students was a significant predictor of persistence to graduate from college.
A number of presentations in the Sociology sessions addressed diversity and people of color. Floyd and Gramann (1992) suggested that outdoor recreation contributes to the maintenance of key cultural values of Mexican Americans despite pressures to conform to Anglo American standards; key cultural elements were reflected in the differences between the type of benefits emphasized during outdoor recreation engagements. Walker and Virden (1992) found that the values of black, hispanic and white university students did not differ concerning leisure but the value preference and leisure participation were linked in ethnic patterns. In a similar study, Chavez (1992) found that the values of recreation did not differ between the ethnic groups she studied although people chose different ways to express their values.
Constraints and women as two separate but related topics dominated several of the papers delivered in the Psychology/Social Psychology session. Samdahl (1992) examined the effect of gender socialization on labeling an experience as leisure. She concluded that the variable sex had no significant effect on what people called leisure but that gender, defined as possessing masculine or feminine traits, did have an effect. Dattilo, Dattilo, and Kleiber (1992) found that an increase in self-esteem among women who were overweight and poor was associated with an increase in active participation in recreational activities. Leisure constraints negotiation was proposed in a presentation by Jackson, Crawford and Godbey (1992). They offered an alternative view of leisure constraints whereby people might negotiate through constraints and succeed in initiating or continuing participation, albeit in a manner that might differ from participation in the absence of constraints. Raymore, Godbey and Crawford (1992) also tested a process model of constraints that suggested that intrapersonal, interpersonal and structural aspects create leisure constraints. Norman (1992) used a similar model to examine recreation specialization related to vacationing.
The Management of Leisure Services sessions addressed a variety of topics with a focus on personnel. Yen and McKinney (1992) examined how public and private managers perceived their compensation and jobs differently. Barber (1992) studied "plateauism" in the workplace and suggested that the key in avoiding "plateauism" is to train middle level managers in coping techniques that will keep them motivated in their current position for long periods of time. DeGraaf (1992) and Magnuson (1991) studied motivation of camp counselors. Both found support for Herzberg's two-factor theory to suggest that supervisors can facilitate situations that will be more likely to motivate staff. Kanters, Yardley and Nogradi (1992) suggested that different work facets may motivate women and men differently in the workplace. In another study, Yardley, Kanters and Nogradi (1992) found that men and women also differed in their approaches to leisure service delivery. VanDerveer (1992 ) examined the management behaviors of women and discovered they were most likely to embrace participatory styles.
Many of the Leisure Programs and Services for Special Populations sessions addressed issues surrounding empowerment and community integration. For example, Anderson, Schleien, McAvoy and Lais (1992) addressed integration of people with and without disabilities through participation in adventure programs; they found skill acquisition and positive attitude development for both groups of individuals. Munson (1992) found that home/family leisure participation may be a medium to increased self-esteem for institutionalized adolescent offenders which in turn might facilitate transition and community integration. Mahon (1992) identified that the use of a decision making model can enhance self determination for people with mental retardation facilitated through leisure participation. Weissinger and Caldwell (1992) looked at boredom for people with spinal cord injuries, finding that, unlike non-disabled populations, ability and skill contributed most to boredom in these individuals. Empowerment for professional responsibilities was suggested through Grossman and Caroleo's (1992) study of HIV-AIDS risk behavior knowledge among therapeutic recreation specialists. Their results indicated that TR professionals are lacking some knowledge about HIV-AIDS.
The 1993 Leisure Research Symposium will be held in conjunction with the NRPA Congress in San Jose, California. Abstracts are due to the co-chairs by March 12, 1993. Cochairs for the 1993 Symposium are Carol Cutler Riddick of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. (202-651-5510) and Alan Watson of the USDA Forest Service in Missoula, Montana (406-721-5694). If the symposium continues in its find tradition of the past 15 years, we can expect to see many more high calibre presentations in 1993 that will further contribute to the body of knowledge that guides our profession.…
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Publication information: Article title: 15th NRPA Leisure Research Symposium Offers Something for Everyone. Contributors: Henderson, Karla A. - Author, Bedini, Leandra A. - Author. Magazine title: Parks & Recreation. Volume: 28. Issue: 1 Publication date: January 1993. Page number: 24+. © 2009 National Recreation and Park Association. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.