Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Conceptualization and Measurement of the Recreationist-Environment Fit

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Conceptualization and Measurement of the Recreationist-Environment Fit

Article excerpt

Introduction

Research into the person-environment (P-E) relationship from an instrumental perspective has viewed the environment as a facilitator of behavioral and economic goals (Stokols, 1990). An aim of these studies is to build models to predict human behaviors in specific circumstances (Vorkinn & Riese, 2001). The drawback of this approach is that it neglects the more dynamic features of the human-environment relationship or the social meaning attributed to the environment (Stokols, 1990; Vokinn & Riese, 2001). The core proposition of social ecology suggests that the well-being of people is affected by the characteristics and health of their physical and social environments (Stokols, 1992).

Research investigating P-E interactions in organizational and residential environments has been particularly important in establishing that these environments have positive impacts on individuals. Research into the P-E fit in management generally focuses on matching individuals to various work environments. Kristof (1996), for example, proposed two types of person-organization (P-O) fits: the supplementary fit and the complementary fit to measure the congruence between employees and organizations. In institutional contexts, high levels of P-O fit have been associated with a lower employee turnover and high levels of job satisfaction and performance (O'Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991). Other researchers have focused on the residential environment (Kahana, 1982; Lawton, 1979). The P-E fit in a community context is deemed as a key antecedent of residential satisfaction and well-being (Kahana, Lovegreen, Kahana, & Kahana, 2003). In summary, P-E fit studies have provided an avenue to understand personal well-being and quality of life.

Even though the P-E fit research has been popular in other areas of study, it has been sparse in recreation and leisure literature. This is surprising given that recreation and leisure activities are considered to be one of the most significant contributors of personal well-being and quality of life (Iso-Ahola, 1993, 1997). Previous studies of P-E interaction in the recreation literature focused on what recreationists attain in recreation environments such as recreation benefits (Driver, Brown, & Peterson, 1991) and recreation experience (Lee & Shafer, 2002). However, these studies only investigated the perspective of the recreation participants, while ignoring the characteristics of the recreation settings which might require the recreationist to possess certain abilities in order to function effectively. Other theories that touch upon the concept of fit are Attention Restoration Theory (ART) from environmental psychology and Affordance Theory from ecological psychology. ART (Kaplan & Kaplan 1989) asserts that for restorative experience to take place a setting should possess compatibility; that is, it should be a good match between personal desires and environmental characteristics. Affordance Theory explicates that affordances are the environmental characteristics that allow specialized individuals to execute certain actions (Turvey, 1992). The aforementioned research has revealed the importance of fit between the recreationists and the environment. Nevertheless, no further study examines fit between recreationists and their recreational environment.

To date, no clear or widely accepted definition of the recreationist-environment (R-E) fit has been developed. The absence of such a concept, good operational definitions, and validated measures may hinder research into the congruence between recreationists and their recreational environments. Based on ART and Affordance Theory, the purposes of this study are to conceptualize R-E fit and subsequently develop an instrument to measure it. This scale is thought to be useful for providing recreation managers with information regarding the alignment between the desires and motivations of their customers and the amenities and characteristics of recreation sites. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.