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A qualitative exploration of the wilderness experience as a source of spiritual inspiration

Author(s):

Laura M. Fredrickson
Dorothy H. Anderson

Year:

1999

Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station

Historical Station(s):

North Central Research Station

Source:

Journal of Environmental Psychology. 19: 21-39. (1999)

Description

On-site observations, personal field journals, and in-depth interviews were used to examine qualitative aspects of the wilderness experience as a source of spiritual inspiration. Two groups of women kept personal journal accounts of their daily 'lived-experience' during one of two outdoor recreation trips; five participants went to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota, and seven went to the Grand Canyon of northern Arizona. Journal entries were content-analysed, exploring the commonalties and idiosyncrasies found between individual accounts. Results were used to develop a general interview guide. Follow-up in-depth personal interviews were conducted within 3 weeks of the conclusion of each trip. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were content-analysed, looking for commonalties and distinctions between the data. Participants spoke of the expansiveness of the landscape and an awareness of the sheer powers of nature as contributing to a meaningful wilderness experience, which thereby acted as spiritual inspiration for most individuals. Moreover, positive interpersonal interactions combined with complete immersion in a wilderness setting seemed to influence one's proclivity to perceiving elements of the landscape as possible sources of spiritual inspiration.

Citation

Fredrickson, Laura M.; Anderson, Dorothy H. 1999. A qualitative exploration of the wilderness experience as a source of spiritual inspiration. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 19: 21-39. (1999)

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/12268