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Christopher J. Auld and Geoffrey Godbey

The literature suggests that the professionalization of sport has resulted in erosion of the decision-making power of volunteer administrators. However, little research has examined the extent to which volunteer and paid administrators may differ in their perceptions of influence in decision making. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of influence in organizational decisions and to determine if they were related to decision areas at the board level in Canadian National Sporting Organizations. Results indicated that influence in decision making was not perceived as reciprocal; some areas of decision making were perceived to be the domain of either the professionals or volunteers; and professionals wanted the relationship to be more equal. Implications include the consequences for volunteers as the more dependent partner in the relationship, the potential for improved organizational decision making, and the recognition that the policy development/implementation split between volunteers and professionals may be too simplistic.

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John Librett, Karla Henderson, Geoffrey Godbey and James R. Morrow Jr.

The purpose of parks and recreation as well as public health is to seek the highest possible quality of life for individuals and communities. Unfortunately, little discourse has occurred between the parks and recreation and public health professions. This missed opportunity has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the spectrum of issues shared by the fields, a slow transdisciplinary learning curve, and a dearth of knowledge-based linkages between science and practice. The goal of the 2006 Cooper Institute Conference on Parks, Recreation, and Public Health: Collaborative Frameworks for Promoting Physical Activity was to highlight opportunities and advance cooperation between parks, recreation, and public health researchers and practitioners that result in collaborations that influence public health decisions at the macro (agency) and micro (individual) levels. This article introduces the discussion on scientific and practice issues in parks, recreation, and public health. By establishing a baseline of frameworks for strengthening collaboration we hope to improve the health and quality of life through parks and recreation-based physical activity.

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Andrew Mowen, Elizabeth Orsega-Smith, Laura Payne, Barbara Ainsworth and Geoffrey Godbey

Background:

Health scholars purport that park proximity and social support promotes physical activity and health. However, few studies examine the combined contributions of these constructs in shaping physical activity and health.

Purpose:

In this study, the contributions of environmental and social characteristics in shaping park use, physical activity, and health are examined.

Methods:

A survey was distributed to 1515 older adults in Cleveland, Ohio. Results: Path analysis indicated that social support was directly related to health. Perceived park walking proximity was related to physical activity and health through park use frequency. Park proximity was directly related to park use duration.

Conclusions:

Results suggest that environmental and social characteristics contribute to physical activity and health, but perceptions may also be a prerequisite to park use, daily physical activity, and health.