Exploring the Dynamics of Ego Involvement among Canadian Backpackers: An Achievement Goal Interpretation
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ABSTRACT Among outdoor adventure activities, backpacking has grown in popularity among travelers, marketers, and academia in recent years. However, to date research focusing on Canadian backpacker characteristics and motivations is very limited. To address this knowledge gap, this thesis aims to explore how different patterns of goals (validation-seeking and growth-seeking goals) are associated with ego involvement. The study will also investigate the mediating role of perceived competence along with perceived risk and core motivation factors of backpacking (knowledge and rest & relaxation factors) on the association between validation-seeking and growth-seeking goals with ego involvement. Self-administered questionnaires were made available online, through eSurv from April 1st to May 20th, 2015, 185 valid questionnaires were completed. Both univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to analyze this quantitative data. The data indicated that Canadian backpackers are mostly growth seeker individuals who travel to learn new experiences as well as to self-improve their backpacking skills. It also revealed that growth-seeking backpackers are more ego involved compared to their validation-seeking counterparts. Analyzing the mediators revealed that it is general perceived competence, not specific perceived competence, which influences growth-seeking goals to enhance ego involvement among Canadian backpackers. Moreover, like other backpackers, Canadians showed low levels of perceived physical, functional, and health risk. Only functional risk related to accommodations negatively influenced on their level of ego involvement. Nevertheless, perceived risk, does not influence as a mediator to enhance ego involvement through growth-seeking goals. It was also found that among the core motivations of knowledge and relaxation, only knowledge-seeking influences growth-seeking goals to augment ego involvement and experienced seeking backpackers are less concerned about relaxation.