The social nature of leisure involvement Academic Article uri icon


  • The involvement construct has been used to explain a variety of leisure-related phenomena. While these efforts have made valuable contributions toward furthering the field's understanding of leisure behavior and involvement in particular, many of these investigations have been limited by the measures used to operationalize the construct. Most research that has incorporated the construct in their investigations has been quantitative and has employed one of several standardized scales. Unfortunately, the performance of these scales has been inconsistent and has possibly raised more questions relating to construct validity than they have addressed. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to develop an understanding of leisure involvement from a naturalistic perspective using several ethnographic research methods. Data were collected from campers attending an agricultural fair in central Pennsylvania and was used to address the primary research question, "Why do campers annually return to participate in the Fair?" and two sub-questions, "What is the focus of their involvement?" and "How is their involvement maintained?" Results indicated that the relationships informants shared with significant family and friends was the primary source of personal relevance and was identified as the most important element of their Fair experience. Additionally, the relationships and interactions with members of their immediate social worlds shaped what they perceived to be personally relevant. These results have implications for the way in which the construct is conceptualized and measured. Specifically, greater consideration of the social component of the leisure experience is warranted.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kyle, G., & Chick, G.

citation count

  • 115

complete list of authors

  • Kyle, G||Chick, G

publication date

  • January 2002