Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

The Multi-Day, Competitive Leisure Event: Examining Satisfaction over Time

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

The Multi-Day, Competitive Leisure Event: Examining Satisfaction over Time

Article excerpt


Satisfaction is a multi-faceted concept. It results from confirmation of expectations or positive disconfimation (Pizam & Milman, 1993). A national dog agility competition brought together participants from all over North America for what proved to be a difficult event under more extreme conditions than expected. These circumstances provided a unique opportunity to explore multiple phases of a leisure experience. The purpose of this study was to determine which factors affect a person's satisfaction with their leisure experience over the course of a multi-day competitive event by measuring different types of satisfaction across several distinct stages of a recreational experience and determining which factors influence that type of satisfaction. Satisfaction with one's preparedness, performance, and overall experience were assessed over time. This study did not address satisfaction with the implementation of the event or the event providers.

Literature Review

Leisure as Multiphase Experiences

Clawson (1963) was one of the first to suggest that leisure experiences have multiple phases. He outlined five specific, yet non-mutually exclusive decision stages that make up experiences. These included: anticipation and planning; travel to the site; on-site activity; travel from the site; and recollection of the activity. He noted that each stage involved distinct kinds of leisure experiences. For example, in the anticipation and planning stage people will look to the future and determine if special arrangements need to be made for such things as transportation, lodging, and/or reservations. During this stage people often visualize themselves actually involved in the activity. This visualization can continue into the travel to stage and, depending on the meaning of the activity to the participant, emotions (e.g., anxiety, exhilaration) may change as one nears the actual site.

The actual activity stage may focus on a singular event or a series of related events. When the activity stage lasts more than one day, a series of short travel from and recollection stages actually take place between involvement in each event. The longer an event lasts, the more likely participants are to experience changes in moods and attitudes toward or related to participation (Cashell, Lane, & Montgomery, 1996).

When the activity has ended, participants either head home or on to another activity. At this time, initial reflection regarding one's participation takes place. Participants might experience tiredness or rejuvenation, relaxation or anxiety, jubilation or depression, etc. Discussions that take place during the travel to stage are likely to be very different from those while traveling home.

The recollection stage occurs over an extended period of time, and, depending on the meaning associated with the leisure experience, may continue until the experience occurs again. At times, the anticipation and planning stage for future involvement may overlap the recollection stage from the previous leisure experience (Clawson, 1963).

Others have examined the multi-dimensional aspects of leisure experiences as well. Tinsley and Tinsley (1986) spoke to the variety (both positive and stressful) of mini-experiences that make up leisure. Mannell (1980) and Tinsley and Tinsley (1986) focused on transitory leisure experiences. They suggested that rather than being continuous in nature, leisure experiences occur in short, interrupted time periods. Lee, Dattilo and Howard (1994) combined several of the above efforts and demonstrated the multidimensional, transitory, and multi-phased nature of leisure experiences. They cautioned researchers to look at both the pleasant and unpleasant aspects of leisure when examining the total experience.

Hull, Stewart and Yi (1992) examined properties of experience patterns of hikers during a short, stressful day hike. They focused primarily on changes in mood, satisfaction, and perception of scenic beauty and determined that hikers do differ from one another, yet cluster into distinct, homogeneous groups. …

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