Mark Havitz -SRG 2009
This research, as part of a larger program on ego involvement, psychological commitment and behavioural loyalty relationships in leisure contexts, will employ a retrospective approach to understand sport and recreation participation over extended periods of time. More specifically, the purpose is to examine processes by which, and conditions in which, runners develop and maintain (or not) involvement with the activity and commitment to the activity itself as well as ancillary programs, services and products over their individual life courses. These processes and conditions, though important to a broader understanding of adherence to physical activity participation, have only been tentatively explored longitudinally in past research. The theoretical basis of this project is a conceptual model of leisure involvement and loyalty which integrates social psychology and consumer behaviour literature with leisure literature in the areas of ego involvement, psychological commitment, and loyalty (Iwasaki & Havitz, 1999, 2004). The model posits that loyal participants go through progressive processes including: formation of high levels of ego involvement with leisure and sport activity; development of psychological commitment to the activity and various products, events, organizations and service providers; and resistance to change preferences toward products, events, organizations and service providers. Also, the model suggests that personal characteristics (e.g., skill, motivation, personality) and social-situational factors (e.g., social support, life-stage, social norms) influence processes leading to loyalty. As formal data collection is ongoing at present, the intent at this conference will be to present preliminary data collected from 125 participants for the purpose of examining the main path in the model, specifically those variables highlighted in bold. Data have been collected on a decade-by-decade basis, in order to facilitate examination of these processes over runners’ entire life spans.