Applying the Ecological Model to Explore the Influential Factors in Children’s Outdoor Recreation Participation
Keywords:Children’s outdoor recreation, ecological perspective in outdoor recreation, interpersonal influences in outdoor recreation, community and societal influences in outdoor recreation
Childhood is a key developmental period for important physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development. It can serve as a foundation for behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes that carry into adulthood. In terms of outdoor recreation, existing literature denotes many childhood benefits and finds that children who participate in outdoor activities are likely to continue participation into adulthood. This paper uses an ecological perspective to broaden the exploration of childhood factors that contribute to youth participation in outdoor recreation, including interpersonal, community, and societal factors. Of particular importance are parental and family factors, suggesting that outdoor recreation professionals focus on family programming to foster sustainable participation. Adopting an ecological perspective also emphasizes the importance of creating community partnerships, supportive environments, and inclusive programming for diverse children and adults.
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