Date of Award:

5-2009

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Advisor/Chair:

Richard S Krannich

Abstract

Utah is a popular second-home destination due to its unique landscapes that offer numerous natural amenities. Therefore, this research utilizes a mail survey of residents in six Utah counties to examine if seasonal residents become attached to their local communities in the same way as year-round residents. The objective of this research was two-fold: 1) to determine if the commonly cited dimensions of community attachment are an accurate representation of the concept itself; and 2) to determine if the foundations of community attachment, based on those conceptual dimensions, are different for year-round and seasonal homeowners. Prior research has shown that length of residence is the best predictor of community attachment. Therefore, a measure of length of residence for year-round residents is used, while a proxy measure of frequency of visitation to seasonal homes is used for seasonal residents. In addition to the residency categories, traditional sociodemographics are used as control variables. Structural equation models, which allow for the use of latent variables, are utilized to complete the objectives of this research. In general, levels of attachment were highest for longstanding year-round residents. Additionally, newcomer year-round residents and seasonal residents who visit their secondary communities more often possessed attachment, but at slightly lower levels than year-round longstanding residents. Seasonal residents who visit their seasonal communities less frequently had the lowest levels of community attachment. The multivariate results revealed that a multidimensional conceptualization of community attachment is appropriate. The operationalization of the commonly cited dimensions of community attachment (social bonds, participation and sentiments) used in this research all proved to be important elements of the higher order construct "community attachment" for both year-round and seasonal residents. Finally, the results indicated that the foundations of community attachment are different for seasonal and year-round residents. For year-round residents, community attachment is best predicted by the social bonds dimension, while for seasonal residents the participation dimension is the most important. In all, however, all three of the dimensions of community attachment used herein are important, thereby indicating that any future research on this important topic would be best suited to use a multidimensional conceptualization of community attachment.

Comments

This work was revised and made publicly available electronically on July 25, 2011

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