Identifying with the Gunks: Investigating the Effect of Serious Leisure Participation and Place Attachment on Environmental Concern among Traditional Climbers


  • William Richard Wilson Ohio University
  • Andrew M. Szolosi Ohio University
  • Bruce Martin Ohio University
  • Stephen Scanlan Ohio University


serious leisure, place attachment, environmental concern, mediation testing


Popular belief has commonly held that participation in outdoor recreation activities can lead to a heightened level of concern for the environment. Participation that reflects a greater degree of commitment may perhaps have even a more pronounced role in this presumed proposition. Given these considerations, the present study investigated the extent to which serious leisure participation could predict the level of environmental concern among rock climbers (n = 151) in the Shawangunk Mountain Area. Place attachment served as the conceptual link between each of those two constructs. Results indicated that serious leisure participation was a significant predictor in climbers' concern for the environment. Although place attachment was not found to mediate that effect, results suggested that serious leisure participation influenced the type of attachment reported by climbers. Findings from the study can provide resource managers and planners with a better understanding of how climbers of certain skill levels may view and value the places they visit.




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