Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management


McGuire, Francis A.

Committee Member

Backman , Kenneth F.

Committee Member

Moore , DeWayne


People experience various significant events across their life course. The purpose of this study was to explore what turning point events occur and how these events influence travel style among first generation older Korean immigrants. To accomplish this, 33 interviewees were recruited by using theoretical sampling and a semi-structured interview with the retrospective interview technique.
Following the grounded theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, 1998; Corbin 2008), several themes emerged that created turning point events and travel styles among first generation older Korean immigrants. Turning point events divided into eleven categories. In the findings, however, the participants seemed to experience not only a single turning point event at a time, but also interpersonal, multiple, and sequential events. They were also in different situations and dealt with their significant life events in relation to various factors (e.g., changes of transitional role, changes of family structure, changes of socio-economic status, and changes of priorities in life), which are general outcomes of turning point events.
The model suggests travel behaviors changed after turning point events in three specific travel outcomes of turning point events (i.e., value of travel, timing of travel, and opportunity to travel), which become facilitating or constraining factors that lead to travel participation or non-participation. Four different types of travel styles were emerged: day trips, travel to Korea, travel to iconic places of the United States, and religious and mission trips. This study provides a grounded theory that attempts to explain the complex nature of turning points and the impacts of turning point events on travel among first generation older Korean immigrants.