Structured leisure and adolescent adjustment
Nicoll, Mark John
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The relationships between participation in structured leisure (SL) activities (e.g., sports, prosocial activities) and adolescent adjustment were investigated. SL activities have been associated with various developmental benefits but there has been a limited number of studies that have investigated the potential negative aspects of participation. Questionnaire data were collected from 210 boys and girls (between grades 10 and 12). Fourteen students participated in focus groups to obtain a phenomenological perspective on SL participation. Adjustment variables included a well-being composite (comprised of depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and life satisfaction), a school orientation composite (comprised of students’ levels of school involvement and their values regarding school), academic achievement, and self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism. Three hypotheses were examined. First, it was predicted that there would be a curvilinear relationship between the extent of SL participation and the various adjustment variables. Second, aspects of play and leisure were expected to have moderating effects on the relationships between SL participation and outcomes. Third, aspects of perfectionism were hypothesized to play a moderating role on the relationship between SL and adolescent adjustment. Although the present investigation yielded some insightful observations about participation in SL activities, the results provided no direct support for the hypotheses. Regression analyses indicated positive relationships between SL participation and self-oriented perfectionism, and SL participation and academic achievement. Negative relationships were found between the degree of playfulness in SL activities and socially prescribed perfectionism, and between academic achievement and global intrinsic leisure motivation. Notable focus group themes included a distinction between the fun experienced in SL activities and the fun experienced in nonstructured contexts, significant positive and negative experiences related to SL participation, and differences and similarities between the SL context and other contexts such as school. It is argued that leisure theory can contribute to a better understanding of the developmental implications of SL participation and that the relationship between SL participation and perfectionism merits further investigation.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorFarthing, Gerald; McDougall, Patricia
CommitteeLawson, Karen L.; Kowalski, Kent; Chartier, Brian M.; Bowker, Anne