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Psychologically Deep Experiences in Nature Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
Communitas
Spiritual experience
Outdoor recreation
Nature Deficit Disorder
Flow
Nature based recreation
Fascination
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Fenton, Lara
Supervisor and department
Walker, Gordon (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Halpenny, Elizabeth (Physical Education and Recreation)
Harshaw, Howie (Physical Education and Recreation)
Williams, Daniel R. (USDA Forest Service)
Fox, Karen (Physical Education and Recreation)
Department
Physical Education and Recreation
Specialization

Date accepted
2014-01-23T15:40:21Z
Graduation date
2014-06
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Mannell (1996) describes psychologically deep experiences (PDEs) “as special, out-of-the-ordinary, or meaningful” experiences that typically involve altered perceptions of time, self, and surroundings (p. 405). This dissertation focuses on four PDEs— Turner’s (1969) Communitas, Kaplan and Kaplan’s (1989) Fascination, Csikszentmihalyi’s (1975) Flow, and Spiritual experiences (i.e., the ‘Big Four’). This study examines the triggers for, and lived conscious experience of, the ‘Big Four’ to compare and contrast the experiences. A scale was developed to measure the ‘Big Four’ based on a literature review of existing scales, in-depth interviews (n = 12), and expert review (n =5). After feedback was incorporated, the newly developed comprehensive PDE scale was placed online (n = 431). The resulting survey data was randomly split into two groups to create a test sample and a cross validation sample and was analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to confirm that the items for each of the ‘Big Four’ were related to their respective factor. A structural equation model (SEM) was implemented to discover the relationships among the factors. Descriptive results indicate that: (a) there is empirical support for the presence of all of the ‘Big Four’ experiences, although Fascination was by far the most frequently experienced PDE; and (b) triggers for the ‘Big Four’ included, to varying degrees, scenery, social interaction, and recreational activity, corroborating Watson, Williams, Roggenbuck and Daigle’s (1992) nature experience modes. CFA indicated (a) a good overall fit (e.g. RMSEA = 0.047 and 0.038, NFI = 0.94 and 0.94) and (b) one potentially problematic item that measures Fascination, ‘Effortless Attention’. With the item dropped there was little change in fit statistics, except for a drop in ECVI (3.85 to 3.63 and 5.45 to 4.40). The hypothesized structural equation model showed poor model fit (RMSEA = 0.14 and NFI = 0.79). Once a problematic item measuring Communitas was dropped, fit statistics were acceptable (RMSEA = 0.087 and NFI = 0.93) but with only one significant relationship – the impact of Communitas on who people were with. Findings support the current nature based urban restoration movement and indicates the benefits of PDEs.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3FQ9QC3M
Rights
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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File title: Lara Fenton
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