Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Women and Leisure: Premises and Performances Uncovered in an Integrative Review

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Women and Leisure: Premises and Performances Uncovered in an Integrative Review

Article excerpt


Research on women and leisure emerged as a body of knowledge about 25 years ago. This literature has evolved in content and epistemology. Research about women and leisure in the past five years has continued to highlight leisure and its meanings for women from a range of cultural, theoretical, and methodological perspectives. This evolving research builds on previous studies to create a broader understanding of human behavior not only for girls and women, but also for boys and men as well as other marginalized groups. Researchers have continued to contribute to this body of knowledge through exploring a variety of topics.

The purpose of this paper was to extend three past integrative reviews (Henderson 1990, 1996; Henderson, Hodges, & Kivel, 2002) about women's leisure to include research trends and outcomes from the past five years (2001-2005). The integrative review is a strategy for analyzing literature focused on inferring generalizations about substantive issues from a set of studies that address these issues (Jackson, 1980). Themes in the literature were uncovered and described as a means for demonstrating how this body of knowledge about women and leisure is maturing and contributing to a broader discourse about leisure behavior.

Previous Reviews

Henderson (1990) concluded in the first integrative review that covered 1980-1989 that frameworks for understanding women's leisure emerged using a variety of methods with a focus on empowering women genetically to experience leisure. The content of that literature suggested that commonality existed for women and that a "meaning" of leisure for women was emerging. This analysis demonstrated that women (a) shared a common world in their inequality regarding opportunities for leisure (e.g., Glyptis & Chambers, 1982), (b) sought social relationships in leisure (e.g., Henderson & Rannells, 1985; Leaman & Carrington, 1985), (c) had fragmented leisure time (e.g., Deem, 1982; Shaw, 1985), (d) found the preponderance of leisure in the home and through unstructured activities (e.g., Bialeschki & Henderson, 1986; Gregory, 1982), and (e) lacked a sense of entitlement to leisure (e.g., Glyptis & Chambers; Shank, 1986).

The second integrative review (Henderson, 1996) included research published from 1990-1995 and broadened the basis of understanding to address multiple "meanings" of leisure with the notion that "one size doesn't fit all" (p. 139). This growing body of literature in the early 1990s debunked the idea that a common world of women existed except, perhaps, related to women living in a patriarchal world. Henderson suggested that themes were emerging related to: (a) gender explanations (e.g., Deem, 1992; Jackson & Henderson, 1995; Karsten, 1995), (b) a continua of meanings associated with leisure that were sometimes contradictory for different groups of women (e.g., Bolla, Dawson, & Harrington, 1991; Datillo, Datillo, Samdahl, & Kleiber, 1994; Shaw, 1994), and (c) a focus on the diversity that existed among women who live in western cultures (e.g., Freysinger, 1994; Hunter & Whitson, 1991; Riddick & Stewart, 1994). Henderson recommended that researchers interested in addressing women and gender must continue to explore all possible dimensions of women's and men's lives. She also recommended that although individual empowerment is important, collective action might be an important focus if leisure for girls and women is to change.

Henderson et al. (2002) summarized the literature about women and leisure from 1996-2000. This integrative review analysis resulted in topics that were divided into two broad categories: dialogue and context. Dialogue referred to the foundations and patterns regarding how women and leisure were studied and understood. Context applied to the emerging research topics and questions encompassed by topics addressed about women and leisure.

Dialogical issues surfaced related to the theoretical foundations and patterns in the literature regarding women and leisure (Henderson et al. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.