First Advisor

Lee J. Haggerty

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Camp sites facilities -- Social aspects, Outdoor recreation -- Social aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (247 pages)


The purpose of this project was to examine interaction patterns in various campground settings and to elaborate on camping literature which has suggested that the campground is a social event with high rates of interaction. In exploring this phenomenon, this report utilized observational techniques to document the temporal, spatial, familiarity, numerical, and behavioral dimensions of the observed interactions.

The data suggested that young adults and middle-aged persons were observed to be involved in, and initiated the highest proportions of, interactions. In general, males displayed far greater proportions of initiations than females. The highly developed campground exhibited higher proportions and rates of social interaction than the less developed campground; but the overall sociability of the campground was blunted by the tremendous extent of “no interaction” in both types of campgrounds. Besides the differences in population size and density of the two campground types, the non-demographic properties of the campground were also shown to be an influencing factor in interaction behavior. The major finding of this report was that regardless of the type of campground, having and not having previously existing acquaintances within the campground played a prominent role in influencing the patterns of interaction. The total interaction proportion was much higher for units with previously existing acquaintances than for units without previously existing acquaintances in the campground. The report also demonstrated that social interactions were predominantly between units who knew each other from outside the campground.

The data also suggested that while population size and density, and the ecological field of a setting, played roles in influencing interaction patterns, it was the familiarity dimension that yielded the most fruitful insights and played one of the more prominent role s in influencing campground interactions.


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