Life beyond study: A phenomenology of adolescents' self-exploration in leisure context

  • SIVAN, Atara (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The proposed study aims to develop a contextualized, substantive theory of self-exploration in leisure based on an investigation of Hong Kong adolescents’ leisure experiences. Identified with fewer social constraints than other life spheres, leisure is recognized as a significant domain in adolescent development. The significance of self-development during adolescence indicates that self-exploration and self-definition are crucial processes at this time. The need for self-verification and the motivation to develop their identities are revealed through adolescents’ engagement in “serious leisure” activities. Such activities go beyond the relatively short-lived pleasurable activities known as “casual leisure” to provide participants with opportunities for gaining knowledge and skills, personal expression, self- and group- identity enhancement and self-fulfilment. Despite its unique positive characteristics, which are highly related to adolescent development, serious leisure has been mainly studied among adults. The present study will contribute to the field of knowledge by examining and comparing adolescents’ self-exploration in both casual and serious leisure and by determining how self-exploration is manifested during such participation. By undertaking this investigation within the socio-cultural context of Hong Kong, the study also expands current research on adolescents’ leisure which is mainly based upon a Western paradigm. In Hong Kong, little attention has been given to leisure as a context for whole person development. Even though autonomy development and the integration of an adolescent’s experiences, including leisure experiences, into a coherent sense of self are essentials for growth and development, these elements were seldom studied within the leisure context. So far, studies of Hong Kong adolescents’ leisure have focused on activities, satisfaction, and attitudes. Examination of adolescents' subjective experience and meaning-making of their leisure involvement will present an in-depth picture of this involvement pointing out the conditions which facilitate their development. To illuminate adolescents’ experiences, the study will adopt a phenomenological approach conducting in-depth interviews with 50 senior secondary school students (25 serious and 25 casual leisure participants). The sampling procedure will involve the use of the Serious Leisure Inventory and Measure (SLIM) which will be distributed to 945 senior secondary school students from 9 schools of different band levels and regions. Findings from this study will contribute to context-based knowledge and understanding of adolescents’ self-exploration in leisure as a significant arena for youth development. The study will make an important contribution to the existing focus within the educational system on whole person development and facilitate the development of youth leisure education programmes.
Effective start/end date1/11/1530/04/17


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