EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Project-based Serious Leisure in Adventure Sports: Older adult male cavers and positive adjustments to health related adversity – a small case study.

Session code: OS12

Oral / Science, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Mrs Sharon Rosser


This presentation will report preliminary findings from a current study investigating ways in which a group of older adult male cavers aged 65+ relate to their adventure sport. Specifically, it will explore some of the ways these men use caving as a vehicle to ameliorate and positively adjust to health-related adversity.

Mainstream trauma psychology has traditionally focused on distress and pathology but recently there has been a trend towards understanding the causes and consequences of positive functioning (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), with a growing number of scholars now considering how strengths such as optimism, resilience and savouring function in the face of hardship (Bryant & Veroff, 2007). However, much of this research has been quantitative, has not given voice to the human experience, and hard-to-reach groups remain under represented.
Led by an insider-researcher who has been a caver for over thirty years, this presentation uses qualitative findings that bring a very human voice not only to the often ignored and marginalized older adult but also to the varied ways that caving can enrich our lives.

Themes that will be considered include:
• Turning space into place.
• Project-based serious leisure.
• Legacy.


“A life-long caver, CIC and researcher in the School of Sport and Wellbeing at the University of Central Lancashire”


Mark Hickman: School of Sport and Wellbeing, University of Central Lancashire.
Matthew Brookes: School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire