All work and no play: New approach may reveal why people avoid leisure

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Why do some people avoid leisure activities? A recently honored paper co-authored by a Texas A&M AgriLife professor may help behavioral scientists find the answers.

Until now, scientists have lacked a consistent method for measuring the factors that may contribute to why leisure is frequently missing from people’s lives, according to Gerard Kyle, a professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as with Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

“Behavioral scientists have been looking at factors such as health, interest in environmentally responsible behaviors and physical or geographical access to understand why people don’t take advantage of leisure opportunities,” Kyle said. “But over the past 30 years, efforts to measure these factors have varied considerably.”

In collaboration with Jinhee Jun, an assistant professor at Hallym University in Seoul, South Korea, Kyle presented and tested an alternate approach to analyzing the measures used to quantify impediments to engaging in leisure activities.

Their resulting paper, titled “An alternate conceptualization of the leisure constraints measurement model: Formative structure?” was recently recognized as Paper of the Year-2015 at the 2016 National Recreation and Park Association Congress in St. Louis. The paper was originally published in the Journal for Leisure Research.

“In this paper, we developed measures that are both consistent with the measurement theory from which they are derived,” he said, “plus we helped identify factors that inhibit engagement in an array of desired behaviors.”

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