Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Older people--Recreation--Middle West; Snow and ice climbing--Middle West; Older people--Recreation; Snow and ice climbing; Middle West; Academic theses;


Research has shown that individuals participate in high adventure activities for a variety of reasons. This study identified motivational factors for seniors, 55 and older, who participate in the high adventure activity of ice climbing. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight senior ice climbers who had at least three years of experience, had climbed the Midwest Silos, and were familiar with the researcher. Using a constant-comparative method, primary and secondary themes were identified from the data.

The findings of this study suggest senior ice climbers participate for a variety of reasons with the primary motivators of self-efficacy, social interaction, fun, and flow. Supporting these themes are the secondary motivators of the participants' love of the outdoors, understanding of safety, ability to both teach and learn, and the desire to maintain their youth. With approximately 75 million baby boomers entering their senior years, which will represent approximately one-third of the American adult population, institutions formerly known as senior centers, parks and recreation centers, and wellness centers need to adapt their programming to better represent the needs of their changing clientele. Retirement communities have a responsibility to provide programs and access to facilities for high adventure activities for their patrons if they are going to stay ahead of or abreast of their competitors. Recreation providers and retirement facilities need to take a role in meeting the needs and desires of those who take an interest in high adventure activities as well as those who may simply wish to observe. Baby boomers are one of the most affluent generations in our nation's history and have demonstrated that they are willing to spend in the areas of leisure, travel, and high adventure activities. With a better understanding of the motivational factors for seniors who choose to participate in high adventure activities, these recreational providers will be better able to direct their programming toward this audience.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Health, Recreation, and Community Services


Department of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Samuel Lankford


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (168 pages)



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