Date of Award

August 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Iryna Sharaievska

Committee Member

Brandi Crowe

Committee Member

Ryan Gagnon


Between 2009-2017, 17% of youth were diagnosed with a developmental disability (DD) in the United States. These individuals have specific physical, emotional/psychological, and social needs that can require extra support in order to participate fully in recreation activities. The benefits of participating in outdoor recreation are abundant. Unfortunately, little is known about individuals with DDs’ experiences in outdoor recreation participation, and the factors that constrain or facilitate their participation. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore adults with DDs’ perceived benefits of outdoor recreation, and the constraints or facilitators that affect their participation. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven adults with DD. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed via open, axial, and selective coding technique. Results revealed three themes: (a) benefits of outdoor recreation participation; (b) constraints to outdoor recreation participation; and (c) facilitators of outdoor recreation. In addition to practical implications, future research recommendations will be discussed.



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