The Role of Gender, Race, and Income on Park Use Constraints


  • Margaret L. Arnold
  • Kimberly J. Shinew


gender, race, income, leisure constraints, urban parks, multiple hierarchy stratification perspective.


This study examined constraints to urban park use as effected by gender, race, and level of income. The multiple hierarchy stratification perspective, which views gender, race, and social class as potential sources of inequality, served as the theoretical framework for the study. In essence, this perspective views poor minority females as occupying the lowest end of the social stratification continuum, while upper income White males occupy the upper end of the continuum. The final research expectation was that income, race, and gender would collectively have a significant effect on park use, and therefore poor Black women would report significantly more constraint toward park use than would upper-class White men. The findings of this study did not support the multiple hierarchy perspective. In terms of management implications, the results of this study suggest leisure constraints do not concern merely one subgroup of society. However, leisure managers must seek ways to determine if there are subgroups within their jurisdiction tl1at are disadvantaged in terms of access to programs and services because of the effects of constraints on participation. In addition, management should be aware of the high level of fear of violence among women and recognize fear as a constraint during recreation program planning. Finally, fear of racial conflict was found as a constraining factor to park use. Therefore, leisure managers need to market services and programs that allow for racially integrated activities that may serve as a vehicle toward promoting racial harmony within leisure settings.





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