Girlfriend getaways over the life course: Change and continuity

Heather J. Gibson, Liza Berdychevsky, Heather L. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interplay of psychological needs with life course stage has been used to understand how choice of tourist activities and behaviours may change with age. Adopting a constructivist, woman-sensitive approach and grounded theory, this study explored the influence of needs and life stage in the context of girlfriend getaways - women taking vacations together. Findings from nine focus groups and 15 individual interviews (79 women aged between 21 and 87 years) revealed that girlfriend getaways fulfil various psychological needs at four different life course stages: adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and later adulthood. Prominent themes common to the life course stages were getting away from stress and routine, bonding and reconnecting with female friends, and dealing with life events that signify important transitions and could be understood as rites of passage. Participants experienced both change and continuity as they travelled on girlfriend getaways at various life course stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-54
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of Leisure Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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