Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Exploring How Institutionalized Scuba Diving Training and the Diver Experience Influences the Diver’s Conceptualization of the Marine Environment Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this grounded theory mixed methods study is to understand how new scuba dive students are creating meaning of their relationship to the marine environment and how that might be shaped by dive training and dive experiences. Eighty-one scuba dive students enrolled in a standardized entry-level dive course conducted in two locations, participated in this study. Participating dive students completed a questionnaire, composed of closed- and open-ended questions, before, immediately after, and three months after completing the open water dive portion of the dive training process. The quantitative portion of the questionnaires assesses participant’s Nature Relatedness, place attachment to the marine environment, motivations for diving and perceptions of the dive community in relation to self. The qualitative portion allows individuals to reflect upon their own experiences and relationships with the marine environment in their own words. The results of this study indicate that this community of emerging divers possess: (a) positive Nature Relatedness and marine place-attachment that did not significantly change through the dive training process, (b) sightseeing, exploratory, and adventure-related motivations for diving, (c) perceptions of the dive community that matched their own interests, and (d) differences in how they conceptualized the marine environment throughout the dive training and dive experience. As revealed through their responses, new dive students drew upon social constructs to embed their understanding of the marine environment, transforming it from a physical space to an oceanscape imbued with meaning. I use schema theory to help understand both the shifts and continuities seen in how these dive students constructed the oceanscape over time. The findings of this study can inform the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and other dive certification organizations about how to further develop their learn-to-dive curriculum based on the understanding that the cognitive impact of learning to dive goes beyond attaining a certification card.
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  • Ongoing Research
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  • 2019-03-28 to 2021-04-29



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