Evaluating the Efficacy of a Self-classification Measure of Recreation Specialization in the Context of Ultimate Frisbee


  • Andrew J. Kerins
  • David Scott
  • C. Scott Shafer


Recreational Specialization, Serious Leisure, Casual Leisure, Segmentation, Self-Classification Tool, Ultimate Frisbee


Recreation and land managers have not had a simple method of segmenting participants within the same activity. Research on recreational specialization may be particularly useful to this end given its emphasis on investigating diversity among recreationists involved in the same activity. Whereas previous studies viewed specialization as a process of progression through stages, this study emphasizes how specialization can be conceived in terms of distinct styles of participation. Styles of participation are a combination of attitudes, behaviors, and interests that characterize people’s involvement in leisure activities. Building on the work of Scott, Ditton, Stoll, and Eubanks (2005), we propose there are three generic styles of participation that exist along the specialization continuum: Casual, Active, and Serious. These styles can be measured in the form of a self-classification tool that has activity participants choose a style which best reflects their experiences. We created a self-classification measure to study Ultimate Frisbee players who live in the Southwestern United States. The self-classification tool was compared with traditional recreation specialization classification measures and proved to be a simple, easy to use alternative for segmenting same-activity participants. Results showed that the self-classification measure did a very good job of predicting Ultimate Frisbee players’ motivations when compared with an additive index and cluster analysis classification. These results suggest that the self-classification measure can be a worthwhile tool to recreation and land managers for understanding style of participation and intensity of involvement among participants. It may be particularly useful for tournament organizers as a technique for placing participants in specific events or divisions.





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