Mental Concentration as Influenced by Adventure Activity

Authors

  • Carol A. Smith Elon University
  • Nestor W. Sherman Texas A&M University, Kingsville
  • Eric E. Hall Elon University

Keywords:

Abseiling, adventure education, experiential education, flow / concentration, rappelling, self-efficacy, snorkeling

Abstract

One of the premises behind outdoor experiential education and/or adventure education is the authenticity of the experience; students are engaged and “in the moment†(Boss, 1994; Conrad & Hedin, 1981). Outdoor adventure experiences can potentially provide an educational experience during which increased awareness and the impact of the experience will be retained since the student's focus and attentiveness levels are enhanced. The purpose of this study was to determine if awareness and mental concentration levels of university students following outdoor adventure experiences would be greater than those following more traditional activities. Flow theory, according to Shernoff, Csikszentmihalyi, Schneider and Shernoff (2003), “is based on a symbiotic relationship between challenges and skills needed to meet those challenges†(p. 160). In this study, three groups had their concentration levels measured immediately following 3 one-day activities (nonchallenging hiking; abseiling/canyoning; snorkeling) in Australia through completion of the Flow State Scale (Jackson & Eklund, 2004). It was determined that participation in the outdoor adventure activities did result in higher short term concentration levels than traditional sporting activities.

Issue

Section

Regular Papers