Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School Of Psychology

Faculty

Computing, Health And Science

First Advisor

Alison Garton

Abstract

The current study investigated the out-of-school activities in which adolescents participate categorised in terms of structure, type (creative, physical, passive) and level of interaction (individual, group), the developmental, psychological and social consequences of such involvement, and the factors influencing participation. Questionnaires completed by 1280, 12 to 17 year old Western Australian metropolitan, high-school students provided information on adolescents' out-of-school time use, their perceptions of parental values and behaviours, friends' behaviours and relationships and their own behaviours and beliefs. A model, based on the research literature, indicated that parent support and intrinsic motivation were the two factors contributing most to adolescent participation in structured `leisure' activities. There was some support for the hypothesis that involvement in structured `leisure' activities would be associated with higher levels of self-worth and life satisfaction, less boredom and less frequent engagement in risk behaviours. However, it was found that parent strictness and connectedness (as perceived by the adolescents) were the largest contributors to these outcomes. The findings provided support for the `positive psychology movement' and suggest that the majority of this group of adolescents are living effectively in the demanding and changing environment of today's society.

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