Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Self-Esteem, Gender, and Socioeconomic Status: Their Relation to Perceptions of Constraint on Leisure among Adolescents

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Self-Esteem, Gender, and Socioeconomic Status: Their Relation to Perceptions of Constraint on Leisure among Adolescents

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Many social scientists involved in the study of leisure have recently focused on constraints to leisure behavior. Constraints are "a subset of reasons for not engaging in a particular behavior" Jackson, 1988, p. 69). Therefore, a constraint on leisure is something that limits or inhibits an individual's ultimate participation in a leisure activity. A number of authors have referred to "barriers," rather than constraints, to leisure participation. The term "barriers" generally refers to "any factor which intervenes between the preference for an activity and participation in it" (Crawford & Godbey, 1987, p. 120), while constraints have the potential to affect preference in addition to participation (Crawford, Jackson, & Godbey, 1991). Constraints are not considered to be absolute; they can potentially be overcome or reduced, while barriers inhibit participation.

Constraints on leisure have primarily been studied from two different perspectives: The role of constraints in preventing participation in activities at the desired level, and the impact of constraints on ceasing participation in an activity. Research has, for the most part, neglected the impact of constraints on leisure on beginning a new leisure activity.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

CONSTRAINTS ON LEISURE

Two important aspects of previous research relevant to the study reported herein relate to the role of socioeconomic status (SES) on constraints on leisure, and the relationship of interest in participation in leisure activities on leisure.

A number of previous studies have suggested that the perception of barriers to leisure, or constraints on leisure, is related to SES. Searle and Jackson (198S) found that increases in education and income were related to reduced perceived barriers to beginning recreation participation. Godbey (1985) suggested that people from low or middle-low SES groups may be less likely to be aware of public leisure services, thus eliminating the possibility of participation in some leisure activities. Howard and Crampton (1984) found that people in the lowest income category of their study were the least frequent users of recreation facilities; use was found by the authors to increase as level of income increased, while lack of interest was found to be the most common constraint to participation.

Jackson and Searle (1985) distinguished between two types of adult non-participants: those who do not wish to participate, and those who wish to participate but for whom a barrier or combination of barriers restricts participation. The authors determined that people who wanted to start a new activity but found their participation blocked by one or more barriers tended to be relatively young, well-educated, and had higher incomes; this finding existed primarily because low frequencies of desire to participate were expressed by single parents, the elderly, and the poor, which may indicate the existence of constraints affecting preference development, or interest, that primarily affect disadvantaged groups.

Based on these findings, it may be suggested that individuals with low incomes may be more likely not to participate in leisure pursuits due to reasons of lack of awareness and lack of interest.

Initial steps have previously been taken to examine whether possible constraints on leisure exist which affect preferences, thus affecting interest, in addition to those which affect participation. Henderson, Stalnaker, & Taylor (1988) identified two types of leisure constraints, or barriers as they were referred to: Intervening barriers, which affect participation, and antecedent barriers, which affect preferences. Henderson et al. (1988) determined barriers to recreation as they confronted women at a major university. Time was found to be the strongest barrier, followed by money, facilities, and family concerns. Skills and social inappropriateness were not found to be important barriers; there was no significant support for the importance of antecedent barriers. …

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