Research in Outdoor Education


The Adventure Model uses the theory of specialization (Bryan, 1977; Ditton, Loomis, & Choi, 1992) as a developmental framework by suggesting that participants become specialized in their adventure activities, implying that individuals have differing needs and expectations based on skill and activity type. In addition, as suggested by Scott and. Shafer (2001), speciali­zation implies a developmental process involving behavior, attitudes, and preferences. Thus, the Adventure Model suggests that as partici­pants become more skilled and specialized, a number of attributes, such as frequency of par­ticipation and locus of decision making, change in a predictable manner (Anderson, Anderson, & Young, 2000; Ewert & Hollenhorst, 1989). If true, the implications for adventure education instructors and resource managers include pro­viding more specific opportunities for recreators of different skill groups (Anderson et al., 2000).

The purpose of this study was to answer the following questions:

  • Will components of the model accurately predict participant char­acteristics and patterns of use in adventure rec­reation settings?
  • Are there differences between various activity types relative to the Adventure Model?
  • Can activity type and skill level be used to predict level of engagement?