Place Meaning and Attitudes toward Impacts on Marine Environments
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The study of place has been a component of the recreation literature for about three decades. Most researchers have sought to either describe the cognitive and evaluative beliefs (place meaning) recreational visitors ascribe to a setting or identify the intensity of the human-place bond (place attachment). Few have attempted to qualitatively investigate the meanings visitors ascribe to a setting and quantitatively measure the intensity of their attachment to that setting within the same study design. Nor has there been much work aimed at understanding these concepts in marine environments. In this dissertation, I began to fill these gaps in the literature through the use of a three- phase multiple-method research design. In the first phase, I conducted 20 interviews to identify the meanings that recreational visitors ascribe to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) and to further explore how the symbolic interactionist framework can be used to understand place meanings. Ten place meaning themes emerged from the informants' statements. The second phase used 34 items developed from the 10 meaning themes that emerged from the previous interviews and a place attachment scale to explore how recreational visitors' attachment to a marine resource was reflected in their depictions of why the resource is meaningful. Three hundred and twenty-four individuals, living in Queensland, Australia, responded to a postal/email survey conducted during January and February of 2009. The results indicated that all the meanings recreational visitors ascribe to the GBRMP provide context for the attachment they hold for the setting, however particular sets of meanings are important in differentiating between attachment intensity levels. The final phase, which also used the postal/email survey described, identified how place attachment affected the relationship, identified by Stern et al. (1995), between the recreational visitors' environmental world view (EWV) and attitudes toward negative impacts on the reef ecosystem. I found that place attachment partially mediated the relationship between EWV and attitudes toward impacts. The conclusions presented in this dissertation filled in gaps in the recreation literature's understanding of place while providing further insight into how place meaning influences other constructs important to natural resource management.
Wynveen, Christopher J. (2009). Place Meaning and Attitudes toward Impacts on Marine Environments. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from