Social Status Equalization and Outdoor Orientation Programs: An Exploratory Study

Academic Article


  • Background: Research results indicate outdoor orientation programs (OOPs) successfully help students transition to college and increase student retention, but an understanding of all the key variables involved in creating those positive transitions is unknown. Purpose: The aim of this study is to explore the role of subjective social status as a variable that may be important to the curricular design of OOPs. Methodology/Approach: Surveys asking questions about status were sent to students from 31 college OOPs between 2013 and 2017. Responses ( N = 4,484) were reviewed to understand students’ perceptions of within-group social status. Findings/Conclusions: OOP participants most often reported perceiving their social status as equal among group members. Equality perception was associated with traits such as vocality (defined as being able to verbalize ideas and be listened to in the group) and certain aspects of the trip structure (e.g., shared living conditions). Respondents who reported social status equality also reported positive experiences. Implications: Subjective perceptions of within-group status may have important implications for OOPs and may be an important consideration for program planning and curriculum.
  • Authors

  • Bell, Brent
  • Trumble, Mason
  • Morrissette, Renee'
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 2021
  • Published In


  • college transition
  • contact theory
  • outdoor education
  • outdoor orientation programs
  • social status
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 227
  • End Page

  • 242
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 3