'I want to do everything!': Leisure innovation among retirement-age women

Toni Liechty, Careen Yarnal, Deborah Kerstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Innovation theory asserts that the adoption of new leisure activities in later life (leisure innovation) may facilitate healthy ageing through personal growth, interest renewal, identity reconstruction and increased sense of meaning in life. The purpose of this study was to explore innovation theory among retirement-age women. Thirteen women aged 60-70 completed in-depth interviews and focus groups. Data were analysed through open, axial and selective coding. Themes emerged regarding the nature of newly adopted leisure activities, triggers of innovation and outcomes of innovation. Participants attributed meaning to innovation within established interest areas and to innovation related to taking advantage of previously unavailable opportunities. Participants also identified innovation catalysts including additional resources, increased perceived freedom, purposive life changes and health concerns. Outcomes of innovation included feelings of joy, self-confidence, independence and improved social connections. Findings support and extend innovation theory and suggest that acknowledging and exploring the adoption of new leisure activities can extend existing theory and improve future research related to leisure and ageing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-408
Number of pages20
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ageing
  • innovation theory
  • leisure
  • retirement-age
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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