Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

"I Can't Have My Mom Running Me Everywhere": Adolescents, Leisure, and Accessibility

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

"I Can't Have My Mom Running Me Everywhere": Adolescents, Leisure, and Accessibility

Article excerpt

The central role of leisure activities in the lives of adolescents is well documented (e.g. Marsland, 1982; Meeks & Maudlin, 1990; Raymore, Godbey & Crawford, 1994; Smith, 1987; Willits and Willits, 1986). A number of studies also exist on the types of leisure activities and the time devoted to them by adolescents (Furlong, Cambell, & Roberts, 1990; IsAhola, 1975; Meeks & Maudlin, 1990; Moller, 1992; Poole, 1986; Smith, 1987). More recently, an emerging area of interest examines the constraints to leisure participation encountered by adolescents (Hultsman, 1993; Raymore, Godbey & Crawford, 1994;Jackson & Rucks, 1995). Jackson, however, pointed out that few leisure studies have considered the role played by "place and space as sources of variations and constraints" (1994, p.l13). When geographical variables have been included in studies of undifferentiated populations they appear to be less significant than socidemographic factors as deterrents to leisure aackson, 1994; Shaw, Bonen & McCabe, 1991). Yet, non-driving adolescents who lack full freedom of movement and opportunity are particularly affected by space and place effects, notably in terms of the lack of accessibility (Hultsman, 199S). This study examined the problems of accessibility and independent mobility encountered by young adolescents as they attempt to pursue their chosen leisure activifies. Such problems were identified as material causes of the frustration expressed by young people regarding their free time.

Theoretical perspeetives

The study of leisure constraints has been addressed in a growing body of interdisciplinary research (c.f.,Jackson, 1988 for a review of past literature, as well as Jackfon, 1991; 1994; Crawford, Jackson Sc Godbey, 1991; Jackson & Rucks, 1995; Kay &Jackson, 1991). Much of the research concentrated on both antecedent as well as intervening constraints (Crawford & Godbey, 1987; Henderson, Stalnaker, & 'Taylor, 1988; Jackson 1990). Thus, conditions which affected an individual's preference for leisure activities were identified as antecedent constraints, while intervening constraints were thought to be those infulencing actual leisure participation. Further refinements by Crawford, Jackson and Godbey (1991) and by Jackson, Crawford and Godbey (1993), led to the development of a hierarchical model of constraints, in which intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural impediments to participation in leisure activities were explored. Each level of the constraints hierarchy (such as lack of self esteem at the intrapersonal level, inability to find a friend at the interpersonal level, or structural constraint such as poverty) required successful negotiation before an individual could progress closer to their desired leisure activity. Such constraints, therefore, were not seen as insurmountable barriers to leisure participation. The negotiation process, however, could cause actual participation to be somewhat dierent from that originally intended. Recent research lends support to this approach (Kay & Jackson, 1991;Jackson & Rucks, 1995).

Constraints to leisure have also been explored from the perspective of social location. Shaw et al.(1991) suggested, for example, that it is not social structures per se thar act directly as constraints, rather it is the indidual's location vis-a-vis such structures -- the experience of being poor or female or black or young or old -- which affects the access to recreational goods and services.

Hultsman (1992; 1993) made a similar argument, drawing attention to the significant role played by adults in determining the nature of adolescent leisure participation. Her findings suggested that parental influence was important in early adolescents' decisions not to join an activity, while cessation of a leisure activity was frequently influenced by other adults. The position of young adolescents in the social hierarchy not only suggests that they may perceive constraints differently from adults (Hultsman, 1993), but it may also make any negotiation of the hierarchy of constraints more problematic. …

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