Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anderson Young, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Esther VanGorder

Third Advisor

Qwynne Lackey, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fear and spiritual inspiration for women in the outdoors. Specifically, this study looked at participants from SUNY Cortland’s Outdoor Education Practicum, a core course in the Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Studies Department that culminates with a two-week outdoor experience, with the goals of teaching outdoor skills and building community. This was a mixed-method study, with quantitative data collected according to pre(mid)post design and qualitative data coming from journal entries over a 5-day period. Testing was conducted using the Outdoor Situational Fear Inventory to measure fear, and the Nature Relatedness Scale to measure spiritual inspiration, and qualitative data from participants journals were analyzed for themes of fear, spirituality, and gender. A total of 85 male and female participants completed testing over two years of the course, in 2018 and 2019. It was concluded that the relationship between level of fear and spiritual inspiration for women in the outdoors, while not always significant, is meaningful. While female participants started out at significantly higher levels of fear than males, by the end of the course, the difference in fear level between genders was eliminated.