• Ernest Furchtgott
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


It seems appropriate to conclude our monograph with a review of leisure, which encompasses a variety of activities involving numerous overlapping motives. As with most constructs in the behavioral and social sciences, the definition of leisure is closely associated with the theory espoused by the user (Ajzen, 1991). In many instances, however, researchers depend on the “commonsense” usage of the term (Kelly, 1992), so that leisure is defined as nonobligated time or time left over from work that is necessary to tend to biological needs; the terms leisure and recreation are frequently used synonymously (Driver, Brown, & Peterson, 1991). Most current theories can be traced back to earlier specu-lations (Mitchell & Mason, 1934, Chapter 3). Gordon, Gaitz, and Scott (1976), in tracing the history of leisure, note that Aristotle differentiated leisure from relaxation; leisure for him was not instrumental in preparation for work, as might be the case with relaxation, but it had intrinsic values that afforded the individual the opportunity to become virtuous, which then leads to happiness. In this conception, virtue may be equivalent to what has later been referred to as serious leisure (Stebbins, 1992, p. 5). Aristotle did not consider amusement a form of leisure, since it only produces temporary pleasures and relief from drudgery. Later, Lord Kames, an eighteenth-century English nobleman and philosopher, defined play as “an occupation engaged in for recreation rather than for business or from necessity” (cited by Mitchell & Mason, 1934, p. 52).


Life Satisfaction Leisure Activity Volunteer Activity Push Factor Extrinsic Reward 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernest Furchtgott
    • 1
  1. 1.Late of the University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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