The role of leisure in determining quality of life: issues of content and measurement
Traditional approaches to the measurement of leisure's relationship to quality of life have emphasised place-centred indicators (e.g., the frequency of leisure facility usage) and tended to ignore person-centred criteria (e.g., satisfaction with leisure experiences). Moreover, the underlying assumption in subsequent policy outcomes has been that increasing the number of facilities and services will automatically enhance people's QOL. This paper focuses on both the content and measurement of leisure and its relationship to quality of life. It reports the results of a study that examined the relative importance of selected place and person-centred leisure attributes in predicting quality of life. The study tested a set of objective and subjective indicators that people are most concerned with in their leisure lives. Overall, it was found that the person-centred leisure attribute, leisure satisfaction, was the best predictor of quality of life. Place-centred attributes failed to influence quality of life. Further analysis revealed that people who engage in social activities more frequently and who are more satisfied with the psychological benefits they derive from leisure, experience higher levels of perceived quality of life. The results suggest that there is a need to reconcile objective knowledge with subjective perceptions of leisure in order to achieve greater understanding and comprehensive measurement of this complex domain and its relationship to quality of life.
Social Indicators Research