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The subjective experience of solitude

Author(s):

Christopher Long
James R. Averill

Year:

2007

Publication type:

General Technical Report - Proceedings

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station

Source:

In: Burns, R.; Robinson, K., comps. Proceedings of the 2006 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium; 2006 April 9-11; Bolton Landing, NY. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-14. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 67-76.

Description

Solitude is a frequently cited motive for visiting parks, forests, and wilderness areas. But while visitors frequently say they achieve their solitude goals, most visit in groups of two or more, suggesting a conception that differs from the classical ideal of being profoundly alone with the universe. Moreover, solitude often can be experienced negatively, surrounded by feelings of loneliness and depression. In this paper, we explore both positive and negative solitude experiences as mental states rather than physical conditions. Results suggest that both states occur frequently, perhaps two or three times per week, and both tended to occur while the person was alone, although this was not a requirement. Both were preceded by a sense of stress, and were likely to occur in environments close to home. Women were more likely to experience solitude at home, while men were more likely to achieve it outdoors.

Citation

Long, Christopher; More, Thomas A.; Averill, James R. 2007. The subjective experience of solitude. In: Burns, R.; Robinson, K., comps. Proceedings of the 2006 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium; 2006 April 9-11; Bolton Landing, NY. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-14. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 67-76.

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/12656