Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology


There are a large number of impaired water bodies in Utah, and population trends indicate that water quality impairment will become an increasingly important issue in the future. Because of education and management implications, an understanding of the social processes that drive water quality perception and concern is a matter of interest and importance. Sociodemographic characteristics and outdoor recreational activity have both been associated with environmental concern in the past. Using a Generalized Linear Modeling approach, this study explores the relationship between water-based outdoor recreation and water quality perception and concern. It is found that participation in water-based outdoor recreation increases the odds that a person will perceive the water around them positively, but also makes it more likely they will be concerned about poor water quality. Disaggregation of the recreation categories (boating, fishing, snowsports, and walking or hiking near water) reveals that different recreational specializations are associated with concern of different strengths and directionalities. Those most engaged in boating have lower levels of concern about water quality, while those who often go hiking or fishing are more concerned.



Faculty Mentor

Douglas Jackson-Smith

Departmental Honors Advisor

Christy Glass

Capstone Committee Member

Melissa Haeffner