Scholarly Communications Project

Conceptual Development and Empirical Testing of an Outdoor Recreation Experience Model: The Recreation Experience Matrix (REM)


Gordon James Walker

PhD Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy




R. Bruce Hull, Co-Chair
Joseph W. Roggenbuck, Co-Chair
Bradley R. Hertel, Member
K. Jill Kiecolt, Member
Daniel R. Williams, Member

March 31, 1997
Blacksburg, Virginia


This dissertation examines four issues, including: (a) whether outdoor recreation experiences not included in the Recreation Experience Preference (REP) scales exist; (b) whether these experiences can be categorized using a framework called the Recreation Experience Matrix (REM); (c) how well the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) variables of activity, setting, and expertise explain the types of experiences outdoor recreationists receive; and (d) how well two new variables--primary mode and mode dependence--explain the types of experiences outdoor recreationists receive. In order to address these issues, an on-site questionnaire was distributed at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Virginia during October and November, 1995. A total of 410 people completed this questionnaire. Of these, 336 provided useable addresses for a follow-up mail-out questionnaire, with 169 (50.3%) actually returning it. After performing a variety of statistical analyses, it was found that: (a) some outdoor recreationists did report having non-REP experiences involving identity, cognition, absorption, and self-concept; (b) indirect support does exist for classifying outdoor recreation experiences using the REM framework; and (c) the ROS variables of activity, setting, and expertise, do explain some outdoor recreation experiences, as do the new variables of primary mode and mode dependence.

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