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Inter-group relationships and networks in an outdoor recreation setting
This exploratory study examined the information sharing processes between groups of recreationists at two outdoor recreation settings in Sam Houston National Forest. The primary objective of this study was to develop theory that will explain information sharing among strangers in leisure settings. To reach this objective, several steps were necessary: a) identify the type and content of information shared among the sample of recreationists; b) analyze the types of relationships that support information sharing behavior; c) investigate how information relationships are patterned across egocentric networks; d) evaluate linkages in the networks by comparing network profiles across activities and groups; e) develop hypotheses for future testing of recreation information network models. The study pointed out that at these sites, information was not a valuable resource which could be exchanged, disseminated, or given as a gift. Instead, information was valuable for one's social well-being during the participation in these environments. The content of information shared among the sample of recreationists ranged from objective information related to the outdoor recreation environment and activities, to a limited amount of work or family related personal information. Topics such as religion or politics were rarely discussed. The respondents mainly described their relationships with recreationists outside their group as acquaintances, or no relationship. The findings show that outdoor recreationists at the two settings at Sam Houston National Forest prefer to have privacy and limit their interaction with others outside their group. Visitors have constructed norms of behavior at these two settings that protect their desire for privacy. It was reasoned that such an environment was not stimulating for the development of new relationships. Instead, recreationists chose to focus on strengthening their existing ties. Most contact with others outside the group remained at a casual level and never progressed to a relationship. In network terms, these outdoor recreationists occupied structurally equivalent positions in that they had no social ties to others outside their group. Consequently, they exhibit similar patterns of relations to all other recreationists they do not know, and should therefore be studied using a positional rather than relational approach. Some suggestions are made for future studies.
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Includes bibliographical references: p. 114-130.
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Bajc, Vida (1996). Inter-group relationships and networks in an outdoor recreation setting. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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