Factors Determining Peer Status in Outdoor Adventure Groups

Authors

  • Dan Richmond The University of Utah
  • Jim Sibthorp The University of Utah
  • Jeremy Jostad Eastern Washington University
  • John Gookin National Outdoor Leadership School

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18666/JOREL-2016-V8-I1-7283

Keywords:

peer status, sex, socioeconomic status, outdoor adventure education, group dynamics

Abstract

In this study of 227 students enrolled on 30-day backpacking courses, we examined how certain demographic factors relate to status within the task (goal-related) and social (interpersonal) domains of group functioning. Of particular interest were socioeconomic status (SES) and gender. Using a mixed methods approach, we found that female students had less status in task-based and social contexts, even when controlling for previous experience. Students with low SES had lower status than did their peers in the task-based contexts, but this difference disappeared when also considering previous multinight backpacking experience. As we expected, sources of status differed based on the situational context, with competence driving status for task-based contexts and interpersonal relationships taking precedence in social situations. The findings have important implications for practice in outdoor adventure education, as student demographics change and programs seek greater diversity in a field in which students are traditionally White and male.

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Published

2016-04-11

Issue

Section

Regular Papers