Presenter Bios

Chun-Chu (Bamboo) Chen is an Assistant Professor of Recreation in the Department of Movement Sciences at the University of Idaho. His research interests include psychological and physiological benefits of tourism experiences, tourism marketing, and tourism and quality of life.

Abstract

Tourism, which can be defined as leisure travels outside an individual’s usual environment, has been widely recognized as a necessity of human life (Richards 1999). Thus, scholars from different disciplines have paid increasing attention to the topic of travel benefits (Chen, Petrick, and Shahvali 2016a). For example, several studies have found that leisure travels can help relieve stress and anxiety (Frtiz and Sonnentag 2006; Strauss-Blasche et al. 2005; Westman and Etzion 2001), which is arguably an important finding because chronic stress can lead to poor health conditions (Matousek, Dobkin, and Pruessner 2010). However, most studies examining the stress relief benefit of travel only used psychological measures by asking respondents to self-report their perceived levels of stress (Chen and Petrick 2013). As it is well-documented that there are often discrepancies between physiological measures and psychological perceptions of the same affective state (Matousek et al. 2010), the goal of this study is to assess how the stress level fluctuates during an outdoor travel using the physiological measure of salivary cortisol as well as the psychological perceptions of stress.

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Assessing the Stress-relief Benefit of Outdoor Travel Using Physiological and Psychological Measures

Tourism, which can be defined as leisure travels outside an individual’s usual environment, has been widely recognized as a necessity of human life (Richards 1999). Thus, scholars from different disciplines have paid increasing attention to the topic of travel benefits (Chen, Petrick, and Shahvali 2016a). For example, several studies have found that leisure travels can help relieve stress and anxiety (Frtiz and Sonnentag 2006; Strauss-Blasche et al. 2005; Westman and Etzion 2001), which is arguably an important finding because chronic stress can lead to poor health conditions (Matousek, Dobkin, and Pruessner 2010). However, most studies examining the stress relief benefit of travel only used psychological measures by asking respondents to self-report their perceived levels of stress (Chen and Petrick 2013). As it is well-documented that there are often discrepancies between physiological measures and psychological perceptions of the same affective state (Matousek et al. 2010), the goal of this study is to assess how the stress level fluctuates during an outdoor travel using the physiological measure of salivary cortisol as well as the psychological perceptions of stress.