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Exploring the Links between Leisure Boredom and Alcohol Use among Youth in Rural and Urban Areas of Australia

Ian Patterson, Shane Pegg, Roberta Dobson-Patterson

Abstract


Recent research has suggested that many young people who report high levels of boredom also tend to have high levels of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as greater involvement in extreme sensation activities and/or various forms of delinquency. In many rural areas of Australia, young people often report that there is "nothing to do," with very few communities currently providing appropriate recreation facilities and programs for youth. Therefore, this study was designed to explore the relationship between leisure boredom and alcohol usage among young eople in rural areas, in comparison with young people living in a large urban city in Australia. The sample consisted of 271 university students who resided either in an urban capital city, or a regional city or surrounding town iii rural Queensland, a state of Australia. Two questionnaires were administered to the two different youth populations: the Leisure Boredom Scale (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1987), and the Leisure Self-Determination Scale (Coleman, 1998). Questions relating to present alcohol and cigarette consumption, as well as drug taking behaviors were also asked. The results showed that there was no significant relationship between geographical area and leisure boredom, and leisure self-determination. However, there were significant differences between gender and leisure boredom, with young female students in rural areas being more bored in their leisure than young male students in rural areas, as well as young male and female students in.urban areas. This study also found that the higher the student's leisure self-determination scores, the less the student would be likely to spend on and consume alcohol in large quantities. This finding has significant implications for youth-centered programming where choice, control and responsibility for leisure are important, rather than allowing control to be given over to adults or from peer group pressure.

Keywords


Youth, Leisure Boredom,· Leisure Self-Determination, Alcohol Consumption, Rural versus Urban

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