The measurement of positive attitudinal responses to outdoor recreation environments

The purpose of this study was to design and test an instrument capable of empirically measuring positive attitudinal responses to outdoor recreation environments. This research was exploratory in nature. The instrument consisted of an audio-visual slide presentation of nine different outdoor environments ranging from low (i.e. mountains) to high (i.e. city) degrees of man-induced development. The environments included the mountains, the ocean, the desert, the city, a backyard, a rural area, a shopping center, a city park and Disneyland. A written instrument consisting of 21 bi-polar scales, was used to elicit responses for each of the nine environments. Also included was a questionaire asking respondents to identify those words used in the bi-polar scales which had a positive connotation to them. This technique was used to alleviate research bias with respect to word selection by the researcher in the bi-polar scales. Based on previous research (Carlsl 1974) a set of predictions of responses to each environment was made. These were compared to actual responses and used as an evaluative technique for the instrument. The sample was not random, but consisted of a relatively homogeneous group of 43 students at California State University, Northridge during the Spring and Summer of 1976. Approximately 70% of the sample were Recreation majors in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. The study found that the actual responses were congruent with the predicted responses. The lowly-developed environments (the mountains, ocean and desert) ranked highest in extreme positive responses. Disneyland, the city and the shopping center, basically highly-developed environments, ranked lowest in extreme positive responses. (See more in text.)