Taking Leisure Seriously: Adolescents’ Pursuit of their Most Important and Interesting Leisure Activities


Whereas schools are the most common educational settings worldwide, learning and personal growth can take place in other contexts outside the school system. One of these significant contexts is leisure. Characterized by relative freedom, fewer social constraints than other life domains, self-determination and intrinsic motivation, leisure has been identified as a major context for youth development.

This paper presents a study on adolescents’ choice and pursuit of their most important and interesting leisure activity. The Serious Leisure Inventory and Measure (SLIM) was distributed to 832 senior secondary school students from 10 secondary schools of different academic banding and geographically distributed around Hong Kong. In completing the questionnaire, students were asked to nominate leisure activity that they regard as most important and interesting. Data analysis revealed the popularity of sports and performance and fine arts activities in such nominations. Reasons for participation were mainly psychological. There were gender and school differences in relation to the activity choice and its underlying reasons. Difference were also found between students’ who scored high and those scoring low on the SLIM across gender, school banding, activity types, frequency and duration of activity participation, and reasons for activity choice. Results of the study revealed the existence of serious leisure among adolescents in Hong Kong and highlighted its potential for creating a lasting change in young people’s development. Implications are drawn for leisure education in schools and for expanding the studies on adolescents’ meaning making of their casual and serious leisure pursuits across different sociocultural settings.


Author Information
Atara Sivan, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Vicky Tam, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Gertrude Siu, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Alex Chan, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Robert Stebbins, University of Calgary, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2017
Stream: Education for sustainable development

This paper is part of the ACEID2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon