Research examining recreationists' perceptions of setting density in outdoor recreation contexts has illustrated the influence of a number of factors. In this investigation we examined the effect of activity involvement and place attachment on hikers' perceptions of setting density using frameworks offered by social judgment and cognitive development theories. We hypothesized that respondents' perceptions of setting density would involve cognitive evaluations where the condition encountered is compared against the individual's personal standard for that specific context. Additionally, past work operating within this framework has suggested that the activation of ego-attitudes amplifies the processes of assimilation and contrast such that disparate conditions are contrasted and conditions consistent with the respondents' position are assimilated and considered acceptable. The extent to which respondents' ego-attitudes were activated was measured using the activity involvement and place attachment constructs. Past research has also shown that activity involvement and place attachment are correlates of past experience which acts to shift the evaluative standard toward positions previously encountered. Data were collected from 1,561 hikers over the summer and fall of 1999. These results indicated that only place identity and place dependence were significant predictors of respondents' perceptions of setting density. While respondents scoring high on the place identity dimension were more inclined to report feeling crowded, respondents scoring high on the place dependence dimension were inclined to evaluate setting density more favorably. Theoretical implications are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management