Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Measuring Leisure Motivation: A Meta-Analysis of the Recreation Experience Preference Scales

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Measuring Leisure Motivation: A Meta-Analysis of the Recreation Experience Preference Scales

Article excerpt

One approach to studying the motivations for leisure is to focus on the desired goal states that are attained through participation in leisure. The Recreation Experience Preference (REP) scales were developed for measuring these goal states. In an attempt to provide a summary integrative analysis of the structure of the REP scales, the present study conducted a meta-analysis of 36 studies that have used REP items. The studies were used to obtain population estimates of correlations between scale item pairs. Correlations were then used as input to confirmatory factor analysis that tested the structure of domains (item groupings that represent a broad goal construct) and the structure of scales (withindomain item groupings that represent dimensions of the broader goal construct) established in previous research. Results provided support for the a priori domain and scale structures. Inter-item correlations were computed for domains and scales and compared "within" and *between" clusters. The results show high average inter-item correlations within scales and domains and relatively low average correlations between domains and scales. Variability of interitem domain correlations due to response scale, instruction set, geographic location of study, and type of recreation area visited was tested. Overall consistency in domains and scales was shown. Recommendations are made to help assure appropriate applications and advance refinement of the REP scales. KEYWORDS: motivations, needs, experience based management, recreation experience preference


A topic of central concern in leisure research is the motivations for leisure. This is a key area because it helps determine why people engage in leisure behavior in the manner they do, and it assists in understanding the consequences of leisure engagements. Of more immediate importance, information about motivations for leisure can help practitioners develop programs that have the greatest likelihood of minimizing conflicts between users and of yielding human benefits. One line of leisure motivational research, known as the "experiential approach," was introduced in the late '60s by Driver and Tocher (1970) and was extended in a number of subsequent studies (Driver & Brown, 1975; Driver & Knopf, 1977; Haas, Driver, & Brown, 1980; Knopf, Driver, & Bassett, 1973; Manfredo, Driver, & Brown, 1983). The experiential approach suggested that recreation should not be viewed merely as an activity such as hiking, fishing, camping, etc. Instead, recreation should be conceptualized as a psychophysiological experience that is self-rewarding, occurs during nonobligated free time, and is the result of free choice.

A central focus of this research has been development of psychometric scaling that could be used to measure the dimensions of people's recreation experience. These have become known as the Recreation Experience Preference (REP) scales (Driver, 1977, 1983). In this paper, we provide summary analysis of research used in REP scale development. Following meta-analysis procedures, we examined results from 36 different studies that used the experience preference items. Our intent was to present an item bank useful for application in future studies that examine the basis of leisure.

Theoretical Background

The REP scales were developed within the context of motivation theory. Early conceptualization (Driver & Tocher, 1970; Knopf et al., 1973) suggested that recreation activities are behavioral pursuits that are instrumental to attaining certain psychological and physical goals. According to this view, people pursue engagement in recreation when a problem state exists; when an existing state does not match a preferred state (Knopf et al., 1973). For example, stress caused by a person overloaded with day-to-day responsibilities might motivate that individual to choose to go fishing (a recreation behavioral pursuit) because it is instrumental in attaining temporary escape from stress and therefore fulfills a motivating force (Knopf et al. …

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