An Investigation of the Connection Between Outdoor Orientation and Thriving
Keywords:outdoor orientation, student thriving, outdoor adventure education, student development, student success, college students
This study explored the contribution of outdoor orientation experiences to student thriving. Participants included 295 first-year college students from three institutions across North America. A thriving model was tested using structural equation modeling and included the following variables: outdoor orientation, thriving, involvement, spirituality, psychological sense of community, student–faculty interaction, and control variables. Although the predictive importance of outdoor orientation is modest (? = .048), it contributes significantly to a model explaining 72.8% of the variance in thriving levels. Outdoor orientation directly predicted campus involvement (? = .246) and spirituality (? = -.146). Findings indicate that participating in an outdoor orientation may create a propensity for students to become more involved in campus life, which may foster a greater sense of campus community, culminating in thriving. These results suggest that practitioners should enhance both a psychological sense of community among students and the durability of outdoor experiences back on campus.
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