Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Dr. Gwynn Powell

Committee Member

Dr. Toni Liechty

Committee Member

Dr. Denise Anderson

Committee Member

Dr. William Haller

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the leisure experiences of undocumented Latino young adults in order to note any potential links between leisure experience and success in reaching higher education. This population faces a unique set of challenges in their transition to adulthood and their pursuit of and access to higher education. Research suggests that three common factors among undocumented young adults who have been successful in reaching higher education are extra familial mentors, positive social supports, and supplementary educational programming. This study used the three factors related to success in transition to higher education and the principles of contact theory to examine leisure experiences of undocumented young adults. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven undocumented young adults over the age of 18 who are enrolled in higher education. Due to the difficulty accessing this population, snowball sampling was used beginning with a volunteer database from the Greenville Hispanic Alliance. The data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically. Three themes emerged from the data including (1) experiences of constraint to higher education; (2) leisure constraint negotiation, leading to the three support system factors mentioned above; (3) constraint to leisure participation severely increase after high school graduation leading to a severe drop off in of leisure and recreation participation. The results support previous literature that has identified constraints this population faces when striving for higher education, as well as disadvantaged population's capacity for leisure constraint negotiation. Implications of the study and a framework for future research are discussed.

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