Predictors of behavioral loyalty among hikers along the Appalachian Trail

Gerard Kyle, Alan Graefe, Robert Manning, James Bacon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


In recent years, conceptual and empirical papers have begun to appear in the leisure literature examining the processes leading to the formation of recreationist loyalty. While this work is still in its infancy, current understanding suggests that leisure involvement plays a formative role in the development of social psychological commitment, which in turn, is an antecedent to loyalty to a brand or organization. In the context of natural resource-based recreation the concept of loyalty is most often used to refer to recreationists' attachments to specific recreation areas. The purpose of this paper is to provide an empirical examination of the first order structural relations among involvement (i.e., Centrality, Attraction, Self Expression), commitment (i.e., Social Investment, Financial Investment, Position Involvement, Informational Complexity, Volitional Choice), resistance to change (i.e., Activity Resistance, Place Resistance) and behavioral loyalty for hikers along the Appalachian Trail. These data provided partial support of our hypothesized model. The strength of the structural models varied and not all predictors were significant. Also, the valence of the dimensional relations varied. These data highlight several measurement related issues relating to each of the constructs modeled. These measurement issues inhibit progress toward a fuller understanding of the relationships between each of the constructs and their dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-118
Number of pages20
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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