Removing Attitudinal Barriers to Leisure Behavior and Satisfaction: A Field Experiment Among the Institutionalized Elderly


  • Sheila J Backman
  • Roger C Mannell


Older Adults, Leisure Counseling, Leisure Attitudes, Leisure Behavior, Leisure Satisfaction, Activities Program


Many older adults seem unable to take advantage of the leisure opportunities that alreadyexist in their community and/or institutional homes. The failure to pursue leisure activitiesand avocational interests, makes them a group with the potential for leisure counselingintervention. Traditionally, increased leisure participation by the older adult has beenpromoted with programs that teach skills, and which offer activities to fill free time.However, the danger of this approach alone is that most of the activities engaged in by theelderly may fall into the category ofbusy work, not recreation. The lack ofleisure participationis as likely dependent upon psychological barriers, such as, attitudes, as it is on the lackof recreation skills. For the present study, a counseling program, aimed at attitudinalbarriers, was developed and evaluated. A field experiment conducted in a total-care seniorcitizen's facility found that the leisure counseling program was more effective than atraditional leisure activities program of the same duration in increasing positive attitudestoward leisure. Those involved in the leisure counseling program also reported moresatisfaction with their recreational involvements. However, leisure participation increasedonly for those residents involved in both the leisure counseling and activity programs.





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