The experience of leisure in adolescence

Douglas Kleiber, Reed Larson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article investigates the psychological dimensions of leisure for adolescents, examining their experience of freedom, intrinsic motivation and positive affect in free time versus productive and maintenance activities. In addition, it examines the degree of challenge and concentration in such activities in order to consider the preparation they provide for serious adult roles. Following the procedures of the experience sampling method, 75 adolescents provided 4,489 self-reports on various dimensions of experience during their daily lives. As expected, in free time activities the adolescents reported experiencing greater freedom, intrinsic motivation and positive affect than in productive and maintenance activities, while they reported higher degrees of challenge and concentration in productive rather than free time activities. However, several free time activities, specifically, sports and games and arts and hobbies, were higher on concentration and challenge than all other activities. Contrasted with the more relaxed leisure of activities such as socializing and television watching, these more structured activities are seen as transitional in being similar in their demand characteristics to the serious activities of adult roles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationApplications of Flow in Human Development and Education
Subtitle of host publicationThe Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789401790949
ISBN (Print)9401790930, 9789401790932
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Activities
  • Adolescence
  • Development
  • Experience sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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