The ups and downs of older adults’ leisure during the pandemic

Wonock Chung, M. Rebecca Genoe, Pattara Tavilsup, Samara Stearns, Toni Liechty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leisure in the daily lives of older adults plays an important role in aging well. However, the practice of social distancing and stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hindered leisure involvement. We knew little about how the reduction in leisure participation during the pandemic affected older adults’ leisure lifestyles. The purpose of the study was to explore how older adults adapted in times when their leisure opportunities were constrained. Data were collected through a multi-author blog. Participants (n = 28) were invited to create posts, share photos, and comment on the posts of others. Data were analyzed thematically. The findings demonstrated that older adults gradually adapted to the pandemic in a manner that closely aligned with the Selective Optimization with Compensation (SOC) model. The article discusses how the SOC model could be applied in the context of external adversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-315
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Leisure Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Aging
  • COVID-19
  • Selective Optimization with compensation
  • leisure
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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