Risking comfort? the impact of in-water constraints on recreational scuba diving

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Publication details

Dimmock, K & Wilson, E 2009, 'Risking comfort? the impact of in-water constraints on recreational scuba diving', Annals of Leisure Research, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 173-194.

Peer Reviewed



A substantial body of work has considered the role and impact of constraints on the leisure experience. Recent research in leisure constraints theory, however, has moved beyond a preoccupation with barriers to access and identified the importance of in situ constraints and their impact on the leisure experience itself. New directions in constraints research are needed to expand our understanding of in situ constraints in leisure segments like adventure recreation. This paper presents the findings of an interpretive, qualitative study of how in situ (or ‘in-water’) constraints impacted on the experiences of 27 recreational scuba divers in Australia. The notion of comfort as it applies to adventure leisure and diving is also explored. Using a grounded approach to analysis, it was revealed that divers’ comfort was constrained in physical, psychological, social, and visual contexts. This suite of constraints worked to limit, disrupt, or impede divers’ in-water comfort, bringing discomfort or uncertainty into a dive. The implications and application of these findings for adventure leisure research and practical management of the scuba dive experience are discussed.

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