Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

The Relationship among Leisure Interests, Personality Traits, Affect, and Mood

Academic journal article Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development

The Relationship among Leisure Interests, Personality Traits, Affect, and Mood

Article excerpt

The present study examined relationships between leisure interests and the Big Five personality traits, positive and negative affect, and moods. Regression analysis identified particular personality but not mood or affect variables as significant predictors of leisure factor scores. Further exploration through factor analysis revealed factor structures similar to past research.


Counselors and researchers alike have long known the importance of leisure in assisting clients during their transition from work to retirement, and, as a population of baby boomers begins to leave work, leisure assessment has taken on added significance. However, a recent study (Iwasaki, 2003) has extended the knowledge about leisure activities to show how they may aid another important population. As college students today are faced with increasing academic pressures, research is demonstrating the role of leisure as an important tool for this age group to effectively cope with stress. In addition, the selection of constructive leisure pursuits, as opposed to the sometimes risky or counterproductive outlets often available to college students, can have a multitude of positive effects. Students themselves have acknowledged the advantages of leisure activities, which include helping to maintain a healthy psychological and emotional balance as well as facilitating personal development (Omran, 1999). Research has also identified a positive association between leisure experiences and the career development of college students (Munson & Savickas, 1998). With this information in mind, the identification of satisfying, constructive leisure pursuits is clearly an important endeavor.

Much of the literature in this domain has examined leisure interests' relationship to needs and vocational interests (Tinsley & Eldridge, 1995). To this point, little attention has been paid to the relationship between leisure interests and personality. The present study sought to identify the relationships between leisure interests measured with the Leisure Interest Questionnaire (LIQ; Hansen, 1991) and the Big 5 personality traits measured with the NEO (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness) Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R; Costa & McCrae, 1985), as well as mood states measured with the Profile of Mood States (POMS; McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1971) and affect measured with the Positive and Negative Affect Scale-Expanded Form (PANAS-X; Watson & Clark, 1994). Consistent with previous research showing the importance of leisure on the development of young people (Kleiber & Kelly, 1980; Super, 1986), the present study used a sample population of college students.


A number of studies have described the overlap between vocational interests and personality. In one of the first studies to examine the relationships between Holland's model of six interest types--Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (RIASEC)--and the personality traits of Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness (Costa, McCrae, & Holland, 1984; Holland, 1985), substantial correlations between the constructs were identified. Specifically, Extraversion correlated significantly with Enterprising (.51 for women, .65 for men) and Social (.43 for women, .50 for men); Openness correlated significantly with Artistic (.53 for women, .49 for men) and Investigative (.40 for women, .33 for men). There were no systematic relationships for either of Holland's Realistic or Conventional interest types or for Neuroticism. Later, Tokar, Fischer, and Subich (1998) identified a similar pattern of relations across a number of studies. There were generally substantial correlations across studies between Big Five Extraversion and the Enterprising and Social Holland types (Holland, 1985). There were also moderate correlations between Big Five Openness and Holland types Artistic and Investigative, Big Five Agreeableness and Holland's Social type, and Big Five Conscientiousness and the Conventional Holland type. …

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