Positive Psychology and Leisure Education: A Balanced and Systematic Service Delivery Model


  • John Dattilo Penn State University


leisure education, positive psychology, service delivery model


The purpose of this paper is to present a balanced and systematic leisure education service model grounded in positive psychology principles that are applied across diverse audiences and in various venues that is designed to facilitate the interrelated positive experiences of leisure, happiness, and flourishing (cf. Dattilo, 2015). Six principles help leisure educators work together with participants along with their families, friends, and communities so that they experience leisure, are happy, and flourish: These principles include intrinsic motivation, self-determination, flow, arousal, savoring, and positivity. The term leisure education describes a multifaceted, dynamic process that promotes exploration of perspectives and opportunities intended to develop an ethic of positivity and savoring that is conducive to flow, arousal, and leisure. Leisure education is designed to stimulate self-awareness, promote acquisition of leisure-related knowledge, and encourage skill development that enhances self-determination by meeting needs for autonomy, competence, and social connections, which are influenced by a variety of factors and people including family members, educators, leisure service providers, and neighbors. Leisure education includes programs specifically intended to empower people to experience leisure and happiness and ultimately flourish and it includes information infused throughout services to encourage these positive experiences. 

Author Biography

John Dattilo, Penn State University

John Dattilo is a professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management at Penn State University.






Conceptual Papers