Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Participants' Experiences in Two Types of Sporting Events: A Quest for Evidence of the SL-CL Continuum

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Participants' Experiences in Two Types of Sporting Events: A Quest for Evidence of the SL-CL Continuum

Article excerpt

There is a large body of Uterature that studies serious leisure (SL) partidpants in a wide range of activities (e.g., Baldwin & Norris, 1999; Brown, 2007; Gibson, Willming, & Holdnak, 2002; Hastings, Kurth, Schloder, & Cyr, 1995; Mackellar, 2009; Shipway & Jones, 2007; 2008; Stalp, 2006). However, casual leisure (CL) partidpants have only received minimal research attention (Shinew & Parry, 2005). Although these studies further our understanding of both leisure fields, they also stress their separateness and assist in establishing and maintaining the SL-CL dichotomy (Stebbins, 1997). Consistent with the recreation spedalization framework developed by Bryan (1977), who argued that participants in any given activity fall along a continuum demonstrating different styles of involvement, Shen and Yarnal (2010) recently expressed the need to re-evaluate the SL-CL dichotomy. The authors suggested to study leisure participants along a SL-CL continuum, as one activity may attract participants with different levels (or intensities) of behavioral commitment and thus displaying different levels of SL and CL characteristics.

Past research examining the SL-CL continuum included participants from one particular activity (e.g., Brown, 2007; Scott & Godbey, 1994; Shen & Yarnal, 2010). However, in the recreation spedalization framework, Bryan (1979) emphasized that there are not only differences in speciaUzation within but also between activities. Therefore, the current study wiU test and evaluate the SL-CL continuum approach in two different types of sporting events using a cross-activity design. Furthermore, although previous research has examined SL participants at different types of sporting events (e.g., Hastings et al., 1995; Heo & Lee, 2010; Shipway & Jones, 2007; 2008), no studies were found that examined CL participants in the same sporting context. In order to test the SL-CL continuum, CL characteristics of participants will be included in the current study. This will provide a more holistic understanding of the leisure experiences of sporting event participants.

Methodologically, most research on SL or CL has taken a qualitative approach (e.g., Brown, 2007; Gibson et al., 2002; MackeUar, 2009; Shen & Yarnal, 2010; Shipway & Jones, 2007; 2008). Several authors, however, advocated for the collection of quantitative data as an avenue for future research since it aUows for testing variations among partidpants (Scott & Godbey, 1994; Scott & Shafer, 2001), or examining the intercorrelations among the SL and CL characteristics (Shen & Yarnal, 2010). The current study will therefore take a quantitative approach. Furthermore, previous studies focused on the experiences of adult respondents, which means that our understanding of adolescents' leisure experiences is minimal. The current study includes a sample ranging from adolescents to older adults (i.e., 14 to 77 years of age). Lastly, recreation/regeneration (i.e., the ability of recreation to feeling refreshed) was discussed as one of the benefits of CL (Stebbins, 2001a). However, this CL characteristic was notably absent from Shen and Yarnal's (2010) findings.

Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop our knowledge of the SL-CL continuum conception as opposed to the SL-CL dichotomy. The SL-CL continuum theory will be tested comparing leisure characteristics of participants in two different types of sporting events, namely the 2005 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships and the 2008 Canadian Transplant Games. Quantitative data were collected on different leisure characteristics such as leisure motives (i.e., mastery, intellectual, social, and escape) and identity (i.e., athletic self-identity and athletic social identity) from self-administered questionnaires. These characteristics correspond to four SL and two CL characteristics, which will be elucidated in the next section. The primary question that guided our research was, Is there evidence that participants in two different types of sporting events score differently on the SL-CL continuum? …

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