Predicting Outdoor Recreation Area Use in a Southeastern US County: A Signal Detection Analysis

Danielle E. Schoffman, Sara Wilcox, Andrew T. Kaczynski, Stephanie Child, Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Patricia A. Sharpe, Melinda Forthofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Use of outdoor recreation areas (ORAs) is correlated with physical activity (PA) in community-dwelling adults. Additionally, the wide spread availability of ORAs, including their placement in disadvantaged neighborhoods, make them an especially promising venue through which to promote PA. The purpose of this study was to examine the combination of individual-level factors associated with ORA use in a socioeconomically diverse Southeastern US county. A 2011 random digit-dial survey included 829 adults aged 18+ years with complete data; questions assessed PA level and use/perceived safety of ORAs. Signal detection analysis, a non-parametric recursive partitioning technique, identified cutpoints for defining subgroups of respondents based on ORA use. Seven subgroups were defined ranging from 77.2 % ORA use (younger, met PA recommendations) to 31.8 % ORA use (older, perceived ORAs to be less safe). Signal detection did not identify gender or race as important for defining subgroups. Results suggest that gendered and ethnically-focused ORA promotion campaigns might be unnecessary. Instead, efforts could focus on increasing awareness of ORA facilities among older, less active adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1108
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 31 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Outdoor recreation area
  • Parks
  • Physical activity
  • Signal detection
  • Survey research


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