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Leisure participation and mental health in Tasmania: A lifecycle approach

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Kelly, BA (2011) Leisure participation and mental health in Tasmania: A lifecycle approach. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis reports on research that examined the effect of leisure participation on mental ill-health and wellbeing across four lifecycle cohorts in the Australian state of Tasmania. Commonly referred to as free time or time spent free of responsibility, leisure is particularly relevant to modern society, providing relief from daily pressures and increasing responsibilities. Leisure provides opportunities for personal growth and development across the lifespan. The majority of previous research has focused predominantly on the effects of leisure participation on university student samples. The aims of this research were to (a) describe any differences in leisure participation between four lifecycle groups; (b) determine the effects of leisure participation on mental ill-health; and (c) ascertain any differences in leisure coping techniques on the prevalence of mental ill-health for each lifecycle group. Three research questions were devised and separate data analyses undertaken to fulfil the aims of the study. Thirty-eight organisations including schools, clubs, volunteer organisations, and government agencies participated in the study to represent the four lifecycle groups of adolescent (n=72), young adult (n=166), middle age (n=109), and older adult (n=59) participants. The types of leisure activities most frequently participated in for achievement, social, and time-out reasons were explored using the Leisure Questionnaire (Passmore & French, 2001), alongside measures of Leisure Coping Beliefs and Leisure Coping Strategies, as measured using the Hierarchical Dimensions of Leisure Stress Coping (Iwasaki & Mannell, 2000). A measure of mental ill-health was also taken using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) (Goldberg, 1972). Results show a focus on physical leisure activities for achievement, social, and time-out leisure for each lifecycle group. Multiple regression analysis revealed that perceived participation in social and time-out leisure contributed significantly in lowering mental ill-health for the adolescent, young adult, and middle age lifecycle groups. Leisure coping strategies were also found to significantly contribute to an improvement in mental ill-health in the adolescent, young adult, and older adult lifecycle group, with leisure coping beliefs significantly contributing to lowering levels of mental ill-health in the middle age lifecycle group. These outcomes provide a basis for a better understanding of how leisure participation differs between the lifecycle groups and how leisure participation contributes to mental ill-health for each lifecycle category. Implications of this research are discussed with recommendations for mental health professionals, in terms of the promotion of leisure participation to enhance positive mental health within the community.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: leisure, mental health, stress, lifecycle
Additional Information: Copyright © the Author
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2011 01:14
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2012 03:18
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/11727
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