Perceived Constraints to Leisure Participation Within Five Activity Domains


  • Ronald E. McCarville
  • Bryan J.A. Smale


Constraints, leisure activity domains, participation, demographics


This paper considers reported constraints to participation in terms of leisure activity and demographic characteristics. A regionally stratified random sample of 2,024 Ontario residents was interviewed; 74.8% ( 1 ,513) reported that they were participating in a recreation activity somewhat less or much less than they would like. This study focused on the characteristics and perceptions of this subgroup of 1,513 individuals. Constrained activities were categorized into five leisure activity domains: (1) physical activity and exercise, (2) arts and entertainment, (3) hobbies, (4) social activities, and (5) homebased entertainment. The research questions addressed whether perceived constraints vary across different activity domains and whether selected demographic variables play a role in observed variations. Two seemingly contradictory patterns were found. First, the nature of the activity domain and several demographic characteristics influenced whether specific constraints to leisure participation were reported. For example, lack of time was reported more often for both the home-based and social activity domains. Further, age; sex, marital status, and income all influenced response patterns. The second, more dominant pattern, however, suggested these specific variations represent more the exception than the rule. Constraints tended to be generalized from one group to the next, and from one setting to the next. The paper concludes with several implications for both research and practice.





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