Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Hung-Ling (Stella) Liu


Leisure Constraints, Motivations, Outdoor Recreation Participation Experiences, Outdoor Recreation Perceptions


Outdoor recreation has been shown through past research to provide numerous benefits to the participant when utilized, but for younger millennials, life’s expectations are pulling them away from participating. If there is a decrease in recreation participation, what will motivate this demographic toward participation in the future? The purpose of this study is to identify younger millennial perceptions, habits, and trends, so that in the future, recreation professionals are able to cater for specifically toward this demographic. Two universities in South Dakota, one public and one private, were surveyed through an online software program, QuestionPro, to a convenience sample from both schools. Younger millennials were specifically targeted by focusing on college students, who are between the ages of 19-24, to narrow the sample down to those on the younger end of the generation. The results of descriptive analysis found that the respondents like to recreate with others and prefer leisure recreation (walking, recreation with pets, lawn games) to active recreation. The study also found a positive correlation between length of time recreating and respondent comfort levels, as well as a positive correlation between structural constraints and respondents desire to enjoy nature. The respondents are more interested in programs that cater toward their interests instead of programs focused on history or culture. Future recreation professionals could use the information found in this study to create recreation programs that encourage group participation, cater toward millennial interests, and are more leisure orientated. By understanding motivations and constraints in this specific demographic, future professionals could draw new participants toward recreation and create lifelong users of outdoor recreation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Outdoor recreation.
College students -- Recreation.
College students -- Attitudes.
Generation Y.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright