Context of the study
This research study is concerned with the relationships between leisure participation, leisure satisfaction and emotional intelligence amongst elementary school teachers in northern Taiwan. It is during early school years that children develop personalities and habits that shall impact on their lives later in life.
It is important therefore that the teachers responsible for imparting knowledge to these children act as a role model by of maintaining a balance between physical, emotional and psychological balance. Research studies have revealed that not much has been done with regard to this area. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that the correlation between these three elements is explored.
Leisure is undoubtedly one of the harbingers of satisfaction in life. Participation in leisure activities by human beings creates room for a break from the monotony of the day to day activities in life and therefore augments happiness. While it can generally be agreed that leisure is one of the spices of life, it is also true that there are many kinds of leisure activities from which people derive pleasure in different ways.
The daily activities that people engage in determine the amount of time they dedicate to leisure activities In particular, elementary school teachers usually have little time to relax since they are always attending to their pupils (Ava & Allan, 2006). Their emotion is affected by the way in which the pupils perform in class since every parent expects sterling performance of his or her child.
In addition, their general interaction with pupils also affects the way in which they develop their attitudes and emotion (Ava & Allan, 2006). Hence, their perceived performance is affected by their teaching schedules, availability of proper teaching facilities and so on (Ava & Allan, 2006). There is no doubt that elementary teachers would prefer more time for leisure if their pupils performed well in class.
Leisure has often been perceived and defined based on a number of viewpoints (for example, Godbey 1999; Kelly & Godbey, 1992; Murphy, 1974, 1981; Kelly, 1990; Kelly & Freysinger, 2000). The term leisure has a wide variety of meanings for various persons
Besides, the experience of leisure is a multifaceted progression, and in isolation, it is a difficult term to measure. Coalter (1999) proposed that this is the most opportune time to comprehend the definition of leisure.
In the wake of the twenty first century, leisure has come to be regarded as a fundamental concern in the lives of individuals. Thanks to an enhanced living standard, better education levels, improved health, there has been a growing need for enhanced individual freedom and this has to a greater extent led to the much needed need to engage in leisure activities.
The utilization of free time, in both pleasurable as well as voluntary ways is not only an expected, but also a normally realized way of life amongst the members of postindustrial societies. (Kelly & Godbey 1992).
According to Godbey (1999), leisure, as well as its use has over time, gained immense importance in as far as the wellbeing and sense of self amongst individuals is concerned. Moreover, leisure too, tends to impacts of the economy of a country. For these reasons, research studies into the field of leisure have gained pace.
In Taiwan, those societies that had been impacted on by the western culture underwent a transition as the twentieth century was being ushered in; from agricultural-dependent society, to one now dependent on industrialization. Thanks to the positive developments in the economy of Taiwan, the quality of life amongst its members has immensely been improved.
Yen (1997) opines that seeing that the government failed to provide a public leisure system budget, the recreation industry in Taiwan has to a large extent, been dependent on commercialized organizations.
The rise in advertisement has ensured that some individuals get attracted to certain leisure activities during commercials, like video games, and MTV. Still, there is another group that has engaged in such sensual pleasures as drinking, gambling, or even pornography, and these, according to Yen (1997) are often viewed at as being unhealthy.
Although leisure activities are immerging by the day amongst various societies, there is nevertheless, a deficiency with regard to the training and education of the members of these societies as regards the proper ways of utilizing such leisure activities. There are a number of studies that have thus far been conducted with a view to investigating the impact of leisure satisfaction, as well as its usage amongst people in Taiwan.
For instance, Yuan (1992) has indicated that people in Taiwan have enhanced their recreation expenditures as well as leisure time. Other research studies have indicated that a majority of the people were keen on fulfilling their leisure needs, but lacked mental and physical satisfaction (Ho, 1991; Lin, 1996; Hsieh, M. J., 1998).
In addition, Wang (1997) articulated that Taiwanese elementary school teachers tend to harbor negative life philosophies, are of the belief that their leisure activities are inadequate, views leisure from a negative perspective, and also have a negative attitude in as far as school education is concerned.
According to a research that was undertaken by Franklin (1996), the findings revealed that a lot of individuals asserts that they lack sufficient time to engage in either increased number of leisure activities, owing to barriers related to school, family, as well as social organizations.
This notwithstanding, Franklin (1996) further revealed that the same respondents asserted that they spent on average, three hours each day either watching television, or undertaking activities which at best, can only be regarded as “passive” forms of leisure activities.
As can be seen, insufficient time per se, should not be seen as a handicap for engaging in leisure activities, rather, it should be an issue of the attitude that individuals have towards leisure activities. Wang’s (1997) and Franklin (1996) posit that a majority of the individual harbors negative understanding and attitudes in as far as leisure is concerned. As such, education on leisure becomes essential.
This appears to be the current issue that is affecting people in Taiwan. These require embracing a positive attitude in as far as leisure activities are concerned.
Whalen and Rathunde (1993) have proposed that most of the waking times of any one individual are often spent in one form of leisure activity of another.
For a majority of the teachers, leisure experiences as well as recreational activities greatly impacts on the development of their identity (Kelly & Freysinger, 2000). Besides, the fulfillment of leisure activities could also be regarded as vital for a healthy development of the teachers from a psychological perspective (Hendry, 1983).
Emotional intelligence takes account of not only the ability to precisely recognize emotional messages, but also comprehending these as well (Salovey 2000). This kind of emotion knowledge has been shown to increase during the early stages of development in children, and it has been shown that emotional intelligence does indeed assist children to anticipate the behaviors and feelings of other people, as well as to be better able communicate the feelings that they harbor, and also to act appropriately.
From the above point of view, derivation of pleasure from leisure activities, or leisure satisfaction, is affected many factors, which also affect each other in one or many ways. Along this line, elementary school teachers are particularly affected the fact that they are exposed to different kinds of facilities, media, people and so on, which greatly affect the way in which they perceive leisure and the satisfaction they derive (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008; Chen, Tu & Shih-Tse, 2007).
Modern indoor games such as computer games have proved to be not only useful in enhancing the affection between elementary school teachers and pupils but also their mental aspects since they engage them in some very challenging and comical tasks (Moberly, 2008). Nevertheless, elementary school teachers need more time for leisure activities especially with their pupils since this is what enhances the performance of both parties (Moberly, 2008).
Therefore, a lot of guidance is necessary to ensure that elementary school teachers participate in pastime activities that they like most and which also build their emotional wellbeing. In the context of leisure satisfaction, Chen, Tu and Shih-Tse (2007) have noted that different individuals derive satisfaction from some activities more than their colleagues do.
True, elementary school teachers get involved in different activities such as in the field sports, indoor games, leisure walks, socialization and so on depending on their field of specialization. The advent of the internet also means the teachers have the option of getting involved in internet games and other computer games (Chen, Tu & Shih-Tse, 2007). Along this line, it has been shown that the different forms of leisure activities in which people get involved affect their emotional intelligence (Chen, Lin & Tu, 2006).
Emotional intelligence (EI) is defined by (Sun, 2008; Chen, Tu & Shih-Tse, 2007) as the ability to think or see accurately the circumstances surrounding an event, and be able to assess and express emotion. It is also the capability of an individual to assess and develop feelings that facilitate meaningful thought, as well as the ability to comprehend emotion and emotional acquaintance (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008). This is also related to the way in which emotions are developed to enhance intellectual growth (Chen, Lin & Tu 2006).
There is no doubt that all the mentioned attributes are affected by the different activities that people and particularly elementary school teachers get involved in. While giving special attention to the teachers, it is noteworthy that leisure activities affect their intelligence and ultimately, how their pupils perform in their studies (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun 2008).
Many studies done in the past have shown that some people generally show different kinds of behavior such as shyness, loneliness and even hopelessness due to the way which they perceive leisure or the way they actually engage in leisure activities (Chen, Lin & Tu 2006). It is therefore imperative that research be carried out on how elementary school teachers participate in leisure activities, the kind of satisfaction they derive from the activities, and how the activities affect their emotional intelligence.
The society in Taiwan has changed greatly due to the influence of the western culture and the country’s rapid economic development. The class of life has changed greatly over time as the country has shifted from an agricultural society to an industrial powerhouse. Nevertheless, the government has not been keen on investing in leisure facilities (Yuan 1992). Consequently, the private sector has commercialized leisure activities which have greatly impacted upon the people of Taiwan (Yuan 1992).
The participants in commercial leisure have intensified advertisements and won the hearts of the Taiwanese in spite of the government’s seemingly lackluster in interest in the sector (Yuan 1992). To prove this, there are many commercialized activities such as MTV and video games, some of which are retrieved from the internet (Yuan 1992). The multiple leisure activities have not failed to have a negative impact on the society in Taiwan.
There are many commercials promoting gambling, pornography and drinking among other leisure activities. Such activities can undoubtedly cause adversely affect teachers’ performance if they overindulge in the purportedly “good” activities. Regrettably, with the increased level of advertisements, teachers are more likely to participate in the unregulated activities in order to derive satisfaction and as a way of releasing the stress they encounter each day, only to the detriment of their lives.
An overflow of leisure activities has emerged among the Taiwanese but the seemingly unprepared society may end up misusing the chances due to overexcitement (Hsieh, Spaulding & Riney, 2004). For instance, according to Yuan (1992), the people in Taiwan have greatly increased their expenditures on recreation and leisure time activities. But not all people have bended up satisfied with what they spent their money on, as other reports have indicated that while some people’s intent in the leisure activities was to be satisfied, they ended up not being satisfied either physically or mentally (Hsieh, Spaulding & Riney, 2004).
Young adults have been particularly affected by the leisure activities that people undertake in Taiwan. This idea is expressed by several authors such as Hsieh, Spaulding & Riney (2004) and Ava and Allan (2006) who agree that most of the young adults particularly those in their early years of working life have negative perceptions about life. In addition, many elementary school teachers believe that they usually have insufficient amounts of time left for leisure activities and therefore fail to participate in them (Hsieh, Spaulding & Riney, 2004).
Others hold a generally negative viewpoint of leisure (since they perceive most activities to have negative consequences on their lives) (Hsieh, Spaulding & Riney, 2004; Wang, 1997). But in contradistinction, some teachers in hold negative feelings about school and would want to participate more in leisure activities (Hsieh, Spaulding & Riney, 2004). This generally negative attitude towards leisure among elementary school teachers means that their emotional intelligence is highly likely to be affected, but negatively.
This dissertation is structured in a manner such that it presents in detail past discussions on leisure, particularly among elementary school teachers and how the different leisure activities have been perceived to affect satisfaction. Thus, in the first section, the literature review, a review of leisure participation, leisure satisfaction and emotional intelligence is broadly presented.
From the analysis of the trends in the past, it is evident that leisure activities, satisfaction and emotional intelligence among elementary school teachers are closely connected. This view is supported by Ava and Allan (2006), who posited that teachers need to be guided on their leisure activities since these activities significantly blend their emotions and those of their pupils.
The review also entails specific cases of teachers from Tao Yuan, Taiwan. It is evident from the literature review that elementary school teachers who are not active in leisure activities tend to live secluded lives as they do not have high propensities to socialize and partake in activities that require team experience. As shown by Salovey and Mayer (1990), school life and curriculum puts more emphasis on learning of conventional knowledge rather than full development of the pupils’ frames of intellect. This ultimately affects teachers’ input in helping the pupils.
The research carried out on the elementary school teachers of Tao Yuan County attempts to find out the real situation among the teachers involved. While the findings are limited to the teachers who participated in the research, it can be argued that they are useful since they are an epitome of the actual situation. The findings are supported by the fact that the teachers who participated in the research share common experiences and facilities such as computers, classes, play rooms, playfields and so on.
The students also have access to other shared facilities where they are able to socialize and perform other pastime activities. Their views on leisure can therefore be considered to be based on a communal way of life. A general idea is that crops from the findings of this research is that elementary school teachers may feel frustrated, nervous, or anxious if they are denied an opportunity to venture in some pastime activities due to too tight schedules.
This view is also advanced by Rodriguez, Latkova and Sun (2008) who posit that such a situation may arise where parents or teachers expect too much from the teachers by insisting that children engage their minds in academic work to improve their chances of excelling in examinations. This puts the teachers in a tight spot to even think of having leisure time.
A situation such as that highlighted above not only discourages satisfaction but lowers the potential level of emotional intelligence since both teachers and pupils do not get substantial time to interact or engage their minds with thoughts that encourage emotional development. In the same way, if the teachers are compelled to participate in activities that are not their favorite pastimes, they feel pressurized and may not be in good terms with their pupils, as suggested by Salovey and Mayer (1990).
All these factors ultimately affect the teachers’ emotional standpoint (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008; Chen, Tu & Shih-Tse, 2007; Chen, Lin and Tu, 2006). It is hoped that the findings presented in this report will be of help in implementing school curriculum changes in Tao Yuan.
As it is common knowledge that leisure is a normal requirement of the human mind and body, it is imperative that elementary school teachers be supported in their ventures so that they derive satisfaction from other activities to augment what they disseminate in class. This is one among the recommendations presented at the end of the dissertation.
Statement of the problem
Research findings have indicated that pleasure and freedom are interrelated with leisure, and they are therapeutic in nature, thus are remedial measures to the relieving of stress, an aspect that elementary school teachers have to contend with on a daily basis. Moreover, leisure has been shown to impact on such conventional institutions as school and work, as well as the subjects in these institutions. Yet, there is limited literature that trips to make this connection.
What is more, the different forms of leisure are a mark of cultural transition which attains it highest peak at a time when an individual is in high school. In the case of Taiwan, the country is rapidly embracing the western culture; from an agricultural-dependent economy, to one now dependent on industrialization. Leisure and recreation activities have also changed in tandem with this transition.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of the training and education amongst the members of the society and teachers alike, as regards this transition and how best to embrace the shift in leisure activities. The definitions of leisure are not always as obvious as we may imagine, and cases of misuse and abuse abounds. As a result, most Taiwanese elementary school teachers settle for ‘passive’ forms of leisure, like watching television for prolonged hours, while there are better and far more fulfilling leisure activities that they can pursue.
Wang and Franklin (1996) have posited that the issue if leisure is often surrounded by a negative understanding and attitudes, and this hinders the attainment of leisure satisfaction. In any case, positive leisure activities have been shown to impact positively towards the alleviation of anxieties and depressions, but there seems to be limited knowledge of this association amongst the school goers, teachers and administrators alike.
Furthermore, the emotional intelligence theories have posited that through participating in leisure activities, this has the potential to ensure success in for example, education, and later in the lives of individuals.
Again, this kind of knowledge awareness appears remote. Besides, emotional intelligence affects personalities, and these get shaped at schools, in effect affecting performance of the learning process. As can be seen, the parameters under study here (leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence bears a correlation, while at the same time also impacting on the manner in which say, elementary school teachers are able to discharge their duties effectively.
Yet, there lacks sufficient studies that have explored these combined issues, and so the more reason why a research study of this nature ought to be undertaken.
Purpose of the Project
The purpose of this research study is to help shed light on the association between leisure participation, leisure association and emotional intelligence, and how these three parameters so intertwined impacts on elementary school teachers. Furthermore, it is the intention of this research study, through its findings, to feed the school administrators within the jurisdiction of its application with information on the need to institute changes in their curricula that positively accord leisure activities their rightful place amongst the elementary school teachers. In any case, the ensuing findings from this research study shall prove useful to other scholars who may wish to further explore related studies in future.
This research study shall be restricted to the determination of the relationships among leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence among elementary school teachers in northern Taiwan. As such, no attempt will be made to study either teachers in high schools, or even colleges.
Additionally, this research does not intend to include teachers in the elementary school chosen who may be physically or mentally challenged. Although the review of literature from diverse backgrounds shall be incorporated in this research study, the primary research as regards the collection of data shall however be restricted to those elementary schools located within northern Taiwan.
In particular, the purpose of this research study could be more comprehensively stated by way of a number of research questions:
- What kinds of activities of leisure do the elementary school teachers in the northern part of Taiwan engage in?
- What are some of the attitudes towards leisure that the elementary school teachers in the northern part of Taiwan have?
- To what extend can the elementary teachers in the northern part of Taiwan claim that they are satisfied with the types of leisure activities that they engage in?
- What is the association between participation in leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence amongst the elementary school teachers in the northern part of Taiwan?
Bearing in mind that this study involved a random sample survey of 600 elementary school teachers in northern Taiwan, the research thus assumed that the teachers so chosen were a statistical representation of the entire teachers in northern as such, their views, attitudes and feelings as regards the study questions administered to them reflect the views of the elementary teachers in the region. Furthermore, this study also presumed that the respondents were factual in responding to the questionnaires.
The phenomenon under investigation by this study is very extensive and therefore limitations were experienced in designing the questionnaire questions to limit themselves to the field of leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence. Another study limitation was that this study objective had only been undertaken in Taiwan at a very narrow empirical perspective. No solid data existed to show individual attitudes and behaviors in as far as the phenomenon under investigation is concerned. This therefore presented some difficulties in trying to form the basis of the study’s objectives.
Other study limitations include traveling costs, inadequate budgetary allocation, and a small sample size. The researcher however could not extend the size of the sample to be used in the study due to budgetary challenges. A more comprehensive study would have facilitated in shedding more light as regards the trends, attitudes and behaviors of the study groups from the perspective of leisure participation, leisure satisfaction and emotional intelligence.
Definition of Terms
The following are some of the key terms that have been used. The purpose of defining these terms in the research study is with a view to enabling the readers to come into glimpse with the study’ context, and which forms the basis of the research.
Attitude: in general terms, attitude refers to a temperament toward either n event, or an object. Incidentally, temperament is taken to mean affective, cognitive, and behavioral elements (Neilinger 1981).
Elementary school teacher: According to this research, an elementary school teacher refers to a tutor of children from grade one through to grade seven.
Leisure participation: In this particular study, leisure attitude has been explained in view of the number of times taken by a certain individual in the fulfillment of some activities of leisure for the last one year (Hsieh, C. M 1998).
Leisure satisfaction: This is taken to mean that satisfaction or fulfillment that someone gets from taking part in one form of leisure activity or another.
Leisure attitude: An individual’s towards for example, leisure refers to the specific manner of acting towards or thinking about such an activity (Neulinger, 1981).three element of attitude to leisure have been highlighted in this study, and they include affective, cognitive, and behavioral. These have operationally bee defined through the use of a leisure scale for attitude (Ragheb & Beard, 1982).
Emotional intelligence: This refers to the capability of elementary school teacher to show and assess emotion, and also comprehend feelings and understand emotions. In addition, it also refers to the skills and abilities that elementary school teachers possess, with regard to emotional as well as intellectual development.
Significance of the study
This study is important since it shall facilitate in the shedding of light regarding the issues of leisure participation, leisure satisfaction and emotional intelligence amongst the elementary school teachers in northern Taiwan. This way, the school management shall be better informed about the need to ensure that their school curricula make allowance for leisure activities of their staff. Moreover, it is hoped that the research findings shall act as a point of reference for future researchers in the same field.
The intention of this section of this research study is to evaluate appropriate and related sources of text with regard to the relationship between leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence amongst elementary school teachers in Tao Yuan County, Taiwan.
The literature that is to be discussed here includes among others a description of leisure and emotional intelligence, the various leisure activity types, leisure benefits, attitude and theories related to leisure.
The Meaning of Leisure
Just like the model of life quality, leisure is a multifaceted experience. A majority of the descriptions of leisure have over the years been put forward. Often, leisure per se, has been observed from a temporal point of view. Many people recognize leisure as more of ‘free time’. Brightbill (1960) utilizes two procedures of assessing free time: freely chosen time, and that portion of time which is ‘free from work’.
Many people have attempted to define leisure based on different perspectives. The different perspectives taken in making the definitions reflect different historical perspectives in the structure of different societies and organizations in the world. In addition, the definitions take into consideration the differences in factors that strongly affect both pleasure and freedom enjoyed by human beings.
For instance, Murphy (1974) based the definition of leisure on six concepts, that is, discretionary time, social instrument, social class, occupation and race, the classical perspective, an anti utilitarian approach, and the holistic view. According to Murphy (1974), in view of discretionary time, leisure can be considered the portion of time remaining when the essential needs of work for existence have been fulfilled.
This definition is can be loosely related to the elementary school teachers: the amount of time left for duties outside school (and particularly for leisure) depends inter alia, on the nature of school schedule, the curriculum content, and so forth. Thus, if the schedule is too tight, they will definitely not even have time to interact, let alone participate in other leisure activities.
Murphy’s (1974) second definition of leisure based on the concept of social instrument states that leisure is can be viewed as a way to meet social ends like fulfillment of any social function. This definition tends to consider all age groups since it does not limit itself to a particular age group but focuses on the fulfillment of social needs and how the process can be done.
The third definition of leisure, based on social class, occupation and race, addresses leisure as a phenomenon that is determined by a number of both social and inherited attributes of a society (Murphy, 1974). In this context, it is true that some social activities are tied to particular groups of people, hence not every one can be involved them in the same way, some social functions which are a form of leisure are limited to particular families such as royal families, kingdoms and so on (Murphy, 1974).
Additionally, there is a clear divide between the kind of leisure activities that elementary school teachers and other classes of adults participate in. This is because of the differences in financial status, availability of time, availability of some pastime activities in school, and so on (Murphy 1974).
The classical approach to defining leisure considers leisure as a state in which there is freedom of the soul (Murphy 1974). This means that despite engaging in other beneficial activities, the human mind needs some time to be given reprieve from the hustles of life. (Murphy 1974). In the case of elementary school teachers, they need to participate in leisure activities so that they relieve themselves from the normally tight class schedule.
At some point, the minds of elementary school teachers need to be free from thinking about the class assignments that they have to assess, the arithmetic operations they have to execute before their pupils, and so forth. Based on an anti-utilitarian perspective, Murphy (1974), viewed leisure as a meaningful end to itself it involves a person doing his own thing.
This means that for leisure to be successful and truly yielding, people, and particularly elementary school teachers have to participate in activities that they like most and from which it is deemed that they get maximum satisfaction (Murphy, 1974). Nevertheless, the activities have to be constructive and not the other way round. This calls for support and guidance about leisure from the relevant authorities.
Finally, Murphy’s (1974) definition of leisure using a holistic approach states that leisure is wide phenomenon in life in which several activities can be found. And true, there seem to be no end to the list of activities that are considered as pastimes.
Many research exercises have been conducted to determine the relationships among participation in leisure activities, the satisfaction derived from such leisure activities, and how the aspects affect interpersonal development.
Many of the studies have been focused on the subjective constituent of value of life with a particular focus on subjective welfare of different people (in terms of age, class and so on), their development, and general ideas which affect or correlate with the subjective welfare of human progress based on growth of ideas in different perspectives (Vittersø, 2003). In order to clearly understand the concept of subjective welfare or wellbeing of the human character, it is prudent to discuss it in detail as depicted in the following section.
Another leisure definition has its basis on the idea of leisure being more of an experience capable of taking place at any time, anywhere. Pieper (1963) and DeGrazia (1962) are advocates of this latter idea, and have thus labeled leisure as a ‘state of mind”. This mind state is often accompanied by a positive affect feeling, or enjoyment, coupled with perceived or relative freedom.
The authors hypothesize that at such a time as when we humans harbors these feelings, it is at that time then, that we are best placed to experience leisure at its best. For thee reasons then, it become quite clear why scholars find it extremely difficult to come up with and measure, what could be regarded as a classic leisure definition.
The typical meaning of leisure, as hypothesized by Aristotle, talks about the conception of school. The definition by Aristotle’s rest its assumption on the idea that leisure, by itself, acts as a way through which we as humans ponder, seek for a self-fulfillment, and also we acquire knowledge for knowledge’s sake (de Grazia, 1962).
Other academics (Kelly, 1999; Godbey, 1990) uphold leisure to be amongst the domains of life. In fact, these authors have referred to it as a social institution by itself, akin to work, school, church, and family. As opposed to describing leisure to be an institution per se, such scholars like Veblen (1899) argues that the choices of leisure have n association to race, social class, and occupation.
Vebren portrays the class of bourgeois as one characterized by leisure. Veblen offers that this bourgeois class symbolizes the notion of freedom of abundance. In addition, this class attends school only if they wish to, play if at all they feel like, and also work when they wish to.
Veblen brings into play the expression “conspicuous consumption” in a bid to explain the highly structured utilization of products that are geared towards the displaying the lifestyle of the bourgeois, in as far as matters leisure are concerned. Perhaps the reason why leisure becomes a complicated theory to define is as a result of its one-sided experience (Mannell 1999).
Dimensions in the meaning of leisure
These diverse points of view mirror chronological differences in the association of societies, and also the conceptual variations encroachments on both pleasure and freedom (Godbey, 1999). According to Murphy (1974) there are six dimensions through which the definition of leisure as a concept could be conceived. In term of flexible time, leisure is often viewed at as that residual segment of time following the satisfaction of the essential necessities of work.
A second definition of leisure looks at it as a means to the achievement of a society’s social ends. As such, leisure is often viewed at as a social instrument that is vital for the attainment of social functions. From the perspective of race, social class, or even occupation, leisure gets determined by way of inherited and social aspects.
The classical point of view of leisure posits that leisure is more of ‘state of freedom’, or even a state of an individuals’ soul. Moreover, the anti-utilitarian perspective of leisure defines it as ‘dong one’s own thing’. From a holistic point of view, leisure is looked at as a life’s absolute construct, and in which one can find virtually any activity (Yen, 1997).
Kaplan (1975) anticipated a total of six description of leisure, and each one of the se six definitions rests on diverse premises. The classic or humanistic concept rests on the basis of the human approach, and thus calls for action on freedom. The therapeutic viewpoint presupposes that people often tend to be less healthy that is usually anticipated, and this calls for some form of remediation.
The quantitative theory takes for granted that leisure could be defined on the basis of the utilization of time. The institutional model examines leisure as being one constituent of a social structure that constitutes institutions whose functions are complementary. On the other hand, the epistemological concept rests on the supposition that there are certain values often embedded within a specific culture.
The sociological perspective assumes the idea that leisure, as well as everything else, is usually described from a social framework by sociologists who are intent on generating their individually construed cosmos of significance (Kelly & Godbey 1992; Edginton, Hanson, & Edginton, 1992).
Concept of Subjective Welfare in Relation to Leisure
Subjective wellbeing or the general status of the mind with a feeling or some expectation in regard to the day to day aspects of life is brought about by many issues, leisure included. In describing subjective welfare, many authors have attempted split the concept into terms that can easily be understood.
For instance, Diener (2000) and Diener et al. (1999) have described it based on four constructs: overall life satisfaction, salient spheres of influence in life, positive affect and negative affect. Since the interest of the study detailed in this dissertation is leisure and satisfaction more light will be beamed towards the issue.
According to Diener (1984), overall satisfaction is the global judgment of a person’s life. This judgment is based on personal visualization of the aspects of life in relation to the person’s personal standards and the extent to which the standards are or at least are almost accomplished.
In line with this, it has so been found that individuals who have a higher tendency of trying to increase the gap between where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow (or in future) often have a higher level of satisfaction in life (Diener, 1984). In the same way, this would indicate that elementary school teachers who partake in many leisure activities and would want to maintain the status quo in future are likely to be more intelligent and derive more satisfaction in life.
From the above position, it is worthwhile to raise the question of what kind of person derives more satisfaction in life. This topic has been a major are of research in many past studies and the general finding has been that only knowing one’s gender, race, age, economic status and so on cannot make a person to fully understand the level of satisfaction in life.
Among elementary school teachers, it may be argued that involvement in many extracurricular activities is a sign of satisfaction in life or being content with the leisure. But this may not necessarily be the case since participation in to my leisure activities may be detrimental their pupils’ performance (Sun, 2008; Chen, Tu & Shih-Tse, 2007). Therefore, while such teachers may apparently looking satisfied and confident, their seemingly poor delivery of service may just be counter-affecting their seemingly contented look.
There is a stark contrast in the approaches used to analyze people’s behavior base on their participation in leisure activities. One position is that satisfaction from leisure occurs among individuals, thus people can increase their satisfaction in life (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008). This is the bottom-up approach that emphasizes on what people do to be happy and focused in life (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008).
On the other hand, the top-down strategy focuses on the characteristics of a person which make him or her different from others such as temperament, calmness, patience, and so on (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008). These characteristics affect the way in which people perceive what they see or hear. Perhaps this explains why there is a difference in the way women perceives watching football as compared to men, and why most men are not ardent fans of soaps on television.
These differences are undoubtedly prevalent among elementary school teachers, with males preferring pastime activities that they consider to be more masculine, while the females prefer activities that define their gentle personality (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).
The relationship between participation and the satisfaction derived from it is convoluted. As many past pieces of literature indicate, although leisure may be a vital indicator of subjective welfare and general quality of life, there is little comprehension of how it actually works. Hence some theories exist which try to unravel the elusive point that is the relationship between wellbeing and leisure (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008).
Theories on Subjective Welfare and Leisure
The Activity Theory
This theory was put forward by Havighurst (1961) and later modified by Lemon et al (1972), and much later by Kart (1982). The theory suggests that there is a positive correlation between involvement in activity and satisfaction from the activity and thus satisfaction in life. If this is true, there is enough evidence that it would lead to emotional intelligence. According to the activity theory, the greater the number of time a person engages in different activities, the greater the magnitude of satisfaction he or she derives (Diener, 1984).
The implication of the above standpoint by Diener (1984) is that if elementary school teachers engage in multiple pastime activities such as reading fiction, playing internet games, participating in outdoor games and so on, they likely to advance their levels of satisfaction as they will have open minds (Moberly, 2008; Durkin & Barber, 2002).
In addition, some pastime activities require a lot of mental input (such as cryptic crosswords puzzles, checkers, mazes and so on) and enhance the level of emotional development and also increase levels of confidence among teachers (Durkin & Barber, 2002).
Despite having wide empirical support, the activity theory is failing the test of time since it fails to address maters to do with satisfaction in that would actually contribute to emotional intelligence or competence (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008). It has also been argued that due to frequent inconsistency in the nature of activities that people engage in, the theory cannot be used as a platform to obtain standard views on leisure satisfaction (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008).
The above situation is particularly true among elementary school teachers since most of them are young and aspiring to venture in different activities or occupations in the future. In addition, it is difficult to explain the reasons why people participate in different activities (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008).
In the same way, it is equally difficult to explain sufficiently why elementary school teachers venture in different activities a means of deriving satisfaction. Nevertheless, it is clear that the different activities teachers will engage in affect the way they behave and relate with their colleagues and pupils (emotional intelligence) in different ways (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008; Diener, 1984).
Over the years, researchers have attempted to study the relationship between recreation activity and satisfaction by aggregating the common activities into several homogeneous groups in order to simply the process of analyzing data (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008). However, this has not always been easy because of several reasons. One is that the techniques used classify the techniques have not always been compatible with all the activities (Tinsley & Eldredge, 1995).
Two, it is always difficult to analyze the data and interpret it in spite of it having been “simplified” (Chen, Tu & Shih-Tse, 2007; Tinsley & Eldredge, 1995). Therefore, the most common strategy to study the relationship is to create classification systems by factoring the frequencies of activity participation (Tinsley & Eldredge, 1995).
Nevertheless, this system still has a problem in that the frequencies used usually to do not provide sufficient information about the experience of the participants in the activities. Therefore many researchers, such as Rodriguez, Latkova and Sun (2008), have always concluded that the relationships between leisure participation and satisfaction are difficult to understand due to the differences in emotional standpoints of different people.
The Need Theory
According to Rodriguez, Latkova and Sun (2008), the need theory is based on a platform that that purports that when different individuals satisfy their wants and needs, the process of doing so has a constructive consequence on their emotional well being. If this is true, it implies that if elementary school teachers are encouraged to participate more in leisure activities that bring them satisfaction, they are more likely to develop their emotional faculties in positive ways.
To support the above standpoint, Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun (2008) used an example of people who want to satisfy their need for autonomy by suggesting that such people usually choose means that ensure that they actually become autonomous in their life. Closely related to this is the point that most elementary school teachers are new staff who are beginning to discover build their own world and would therefore like to be left to decide on their own what they want to do and what they do not like (Hultsman, 1993).
Works by other researchers such as Deci and Ryan (2000) on the need theory have attempted to relate the theory to the understanding of three fundamental human needs i.e. competence relatedness and autonomy. All these needs are critical for elementary school teachers since they aspire to be recognized by the performance of their pupils (Hultsman, 1993).
In deed it is through leisure activities that the teachers are able to meditate on these ambitions (Hultsman, 1993). It is therefore by analyzing the kind of activities that teachers partake that the outside community is able to judge the kind of staff the teachers are. This requires cooperation from all the stakeholders involved in the teaching profession.
It has always be difficult to classify some human needs as basic since human beings are different and would consider different needs as basic depending on the circumstances that they are in. For instance, while some teachers would consider some leisure activities as basic needs to them, other teachers would abhor the same “basis needs”. The clear point here is that peoples’ needs in terms of leisure activities are as diverse as are their viewpoints about life.
Along this line, Driver et al (1991) posit that individual human beings participate in leisure activities in order to meet their needs which are not usually fulfilled in their normal life activities. In the same way, while teachers are able to disseminate their academic knowledge in class, they also need to participate in pastime activities so that they derive other pleasures that can be understood only by them (Rodriguez, Latkova & Sun, 2008).
According to Hsieh, Spaulding and Riney (2004), when individuals participate in outdoor activities, they are able to meet some of their emotional needs such as satisfaction of their souls, hence emotional fulfillment. It is difficult to argue against such as point as it is also supported by Tinsley and Eldredge (1995) in the view that it is common for individuals to engage in playing cards, watching television in groups or sharing novels as a way of ensuring that they care for each other and appreciate each others’ values.
It is also true that some individuals, in the pursuit of being noticed by others, especially members of the opposite sex (with respect to the young recruits in the teaching profession), participate in leisure activities that actually promote their ego (Tinsley & Eldredge, 1995). There is therefore no doubt that participation in leisure activities by elementary school teachers is actually dependent on the kind of satisfaction they want to derive and their motional perspective.
The association between interests in leisure, affect, personality traits, and mood
For a long time now, researchers and counselors in a similar way, appears to be been privy to the value of leisure in helping clients make a transition to retirement from work.
On the other hand, a recent research finding (Iwasaki, 2003) has made headways as regards leisure activities knowledge. Seeing that a majority of the elementary school teachers today have to contend with a rising levels of stress thanks to pressures from their academic work, research has thus indicated that leisure does indeed play a significant role, in as far as the alleviation of stress by this age group is concerned.
Moreover, the identification of constructive activities of leisure that could be pursued by this age group, in view of the somewhat counterproductive or even risky pursuits of leisure, has also been shown to have a wide variety of positive impacts. The teachers themselves have also recognized that leisure activities do indeed have benefits, and these could include assisting in the maintenance of emotional and healthy psychological balances, and also to assist in the development of personalities (Omran, 1999).
Moreover, research findings have also discovered a positive correlation between the care development of high school students later in life, and the experiences that hey often undergo while undertaking various leisure activities (Munson & Savickas 1998). Armed with this sort of information, little wonder then, that there is a growing need to identify constructive and fulfilling leisure endeavors in as far as leisure participation is concerned.
Most of the literature that is to be found in the field of leisure participation and satisfaction has exploited the relationship between vocational interests and needs; in as far as interests of leisure are concerned (Tinsley & Eldridge 1995). So far, limited attention seems to have been directed to the correlation between personalities on the one hand, and leisure interest, on the other hand.
Leisure, interests and personalities
A couple of studies have defined interplay in as far as personality and vocational interests go. One of the maiden studies that explored the correlating between the theory of the six kinds of interest by Holland: investigative, realistic, social, artistic, conventional, and enterprising (RIASEC), as well as such personality traits as extraversion, neuroticism, and openness (Holland 1985; Mcrae & Holland 1984), assisted in the identification of substantial relationships between the two theories.
In particular, Extraversion connected extensively with innovativeness (65 percent for men, and.51 percent for women), as well as social (men at 50 percent, women at 43 percent); Openness interrelated considerably with Artistic (women 53 percent, men 49 percent), and investigative (33 percent for men, 40 percent for women). Neither the conventional interest types, nor the Holland’s realistic, or even neuroticism, appeared to bear any methodical correlation.
In a later study, Fischer, Tokar, and Subich (1998) drew parallels with this study, as well as with a number of related research studies. By and large, considerable relationships studies cut across the enterprising, the extraversion, and Holland’s social types (Holland 1985). Moreover, reasonable connections between such Holland types as investigative and artistic were also identified.
Although a lot of researches focuses more on vocational interests and personality have thus far been conducted, nevertheless the number of the studies that appears to assess the correlation between participation in leisure and personalities, are rather remote. Pone such exception is the three-dimensional personality model. Through the use of this model, the researchers found out that involvement in sporting activities had a positive association to extraversion on the one hand, but tended to impact negatively, in as far as neuroticism goes (Eysenck, Nias, & Cox 1982).
In the same way, Courneya and Hellsten (1998) established that the behaviors of exercise has a negative association to neuroticism, but bears a positive relationship with both conscientiousness and extraversion. The positive correlation between exercise, sport activities, and extraversion been shown to have received investigation in other sources (for example, Sale, Guppy & El-Sayed 2000; Hills & Argyle, 1998).
A research study that was undertaken by Zuckerman and Eysenck (1978) was also able to establish that extraversion bore a positive association with those activities that involves a seeking of experiences. Kirkcaldy and Furnham (1990) have also summarized their similar study by opining that extraversion, and not neuroticism, tends to greatly influence the activity of placing a distinction between preferences for recreational activities (p. 48).
Hansen and Scullard (2002) have also indicated in their study that there is indeed a correlation between personality and interest. On account of the known association between leisure and vocational interests, and participation in leisure, it could be prudent to posit that scales that appear to be theoretically associated have a bearing to the interests of leisure.
Mood and leisure
Contrary to the number of studies that have been conducted in the areas of personality and leisure, there are comparatively limited research studies that have explored the correlation between leisure and mood. A majority of the research study appears to lay emphasis on the impact of exercise and physical activities, and hat this does to the mood of individuals, as opposed analyzing the interest of leisure per se.
A study on the use of physical exercise as a remedy for depression and anxiety that was conducted by Stich (1999) revealed that the act of taking part in such leisure activities as exercise goes a long way towards alleviating depression and anxiety episodes among individuals that are characterized by mild distress levels.
On the other hand, research findings have also indicated that the positive correlation that exists between mood and leisure is not just limited to those pursuits that promotes at an individual level, acts of physical activity. Comparable correlations with mood appear to have also been recognized for their involvement in some of the rather passive activities of leisure (More & Payne 1978).
Without a doubt, analysts (Bahrke & Morgan, 1978) have opined that there could be incidences of mood improvement owing to what the researchers have termed “diversional aspects” of the activities of leisure.
Within the realm of the available literature, it has been revealed that leisure participation tends to relate to constructive mood types measures, as opposed to the negative mood essentials. These include vigor, happiness, among others. Nonetheless, the amount of literature on publication that attempts to link mood to leisure interests appears to be quite remote.
Affect and leisure
Over and above mood, research studies have also explored the association between affect, and participation in leisure. Both the negative and the positive affectivity appear to deviate from mood construct. Affect reveals more of a wide-ranging and fundamental facet or trait, while mood is in general, less invasive (Watson & Clark 1984), with further inclination towards variations, as away of responding to conditions.
In contrast, affect appears to be more reliable in as far as a variety of condition re concerned (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). A person who is in possession of an elevated positive affect shall usually be inclined to experience states of mood that are positive and these includes happiness, excitement, as well as vigor on a regular basis, in comparison with an individual possession of a negative affect (for instance, tension, anxiety, and depression.). This is despite the fact that both the negative and positive affect have often been indicated to be more of self-determining constructs (Watson & Clark 1984).
Besides, research findings have indicated that the mere act of individual taking part in leisure activities, is a pointer of to the high correlation rates of such an action with the positive affect, as opposed to the negative affect for those persons of school going-age (Watson 1988), as well as amongst the older population (Lawton 1994).
Characteristics of Leisure
By and large, there are some leisure characteristics that are in general terms, agreed upon, and these tends to encompass positive feelings as well as some amount of freedom (Godbey 1990; Kelly 1990; Kleiber 1999). The thought of freedom might either be relative on the one hand, or a perception, on the other hand.
The conception of freedom entails the notion that a person is not only able to arrive at certain choices, but that such individual are also at a position to make such choices as to involve themselves in leisure, or not. Additionally, various feelings of ‘positiveness’ have also been liked to leisure. Godbey (1990) employs the expressions “intuitively worthwhile” and “personally pleasing” to illustrate the later attribute. Kelly (1983), in contrast, uses the expression “intrinsic satisfaction.”
Moreover, Kleiber (1999) utilizes the word “preferred experience.” In spite of of the expressions used, the thoughts stay unchanged. For that reason there is a need to further look at such distinctiveness in more details.
The idea of freedom gives the impression that it is indeed fundamental to the idea of leisure to (Kleiber &; Neulinger, 1981; Kelly 1983; Godbey, 1990; Iso-Ahola, 1999).
Freedom could be apparent, as Neulinger posits, or it could s well be comparative. Apparent freedom is envisaged intellectually by an individual’s personal feelings.
Apparent freedom may be demonstrated by a number of questions. Do the individual sense freedom as they take part in the experience at hand? Do the individual sense that she or he is at a position to arrive at choices as regards the experience at hand? Kelly (1990) depicts the freedom linked to leisure as being more of comparative, affirming “it is beyond a mere feeling” (p.22).
The idea of comparative freedom counts on how a society creates the freedom impression. For instance, in the event that a certain individual is in jail, society may perhaps articulate that the individual lacks freedom, with regard to how such an individual experiences their life.
The creation of freedom entails the aspects of preference, meaning that leisure is more of an activity that is often chosen on a free will (Wearing & Wearing 1988; Mannell & Kleiber 1997; Iso-Ahola, 1999). A theory identical to preference happens to be that of self-determination. This theory depicts our aptitude to act as well as make our individual choices (Deci & Ryan, 1980).
Suggestion have thus far been offered to the effect that as an individual arrives at certain choices about say, a certain activity, chances are high that she or he may take part in this kind of an activity for the benefit of such an activity (Mannell & Kleiber 1997; Iso-Ahola; Kleiber 1999). Iso-Ahola (1999) suggests that individuals assumes a better control over a certain activity, it then follows that feelings of pleasure tends to follow pretty soon. Dattilo and Kleiber (1993) have proposed that both intrinsic motivation and self-determination are fundamental to satisfaction.
Countless words could be used in a bid to depict positive thoughts (for example, fun, happiness, enjoyment), and often, such words bears a correlation with leisure (Godbey, 1990; Kelly; Kleiber 1999). Csikszentmihalyi (1997) asserted, “happiness is the prototype of the positive emotions”. Happiness, according to the words of Csikszentmihalyi (1997), is the result of an occurrence that describes flow (1975, 1990, 1997a, 1997b).
Flow comes about following a balance between the levels of skills of an individual on the one hand, and the challenge level with regard to a given task, on the other hand. (Csikszentmihalyi 1975, 1990, 1997a, 1997b). At such a time as when an individual is experiencing a flow, person is in flow, she or he experiences an absolute focus, her or his self-consciousness fades away, and her or his judgment of time becomes hazy (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997b).
Csikszentmihalyi further opines that, “flow is by and large accounted for when an individual is going about her or his preferred activity” (1997a). A number of studies have associated the activities of leisure to the ‘flow experience’ (Ellis, Voelkl, & Morris 1994; Voelkl & Ellis 1998; Jones et al 2000). As such, positive feelings as well as freedom appears to be some of the characteristics that bears a correlation with the experience of leisure.
Leisure experiences appear to be a complex matter. For us to better understand the true nature of the experiences of leisure, it become vital that we are able to assess whether or not such a concept does indeed exist, in the first place. According to Kelly (1987, 1999), the existence of leisure could be best explained through the use of existential sociology. Kelly tries to offer an explanation that leisure constitutes two indispensable truths, or elements: life is a life course, as well as an experience.
Leisure, in the context of an experience
Kelly (1987), asserts that individual are able to come to terms with the concept of leisure being an experience for the reason that leisure is a creation, a decision, as well s a process that changes and evolves with circumstances. A number of ways through which leisure existence could be determined have been brought to the fore. According to Kelly (1987), leisure creates implications.
Kelly has further opined that leisure, as an act, tends to have its individual interpretation, emotion, history, telos, and episodic progressions (p. 50). Kelly (1987) details this explanation by positing we, as human beings, know for a fact that leisure is indeed an experience, for the reason that it does exist ‘within the social context’. Efforts to operationalize such kind of an experience continue rising following an evolvement of studies in the leisure.
The existential characteristic of such kind of an experience takes account of a consideration of the manner in which this construct has emerged, and continues to undergo transformations. A comparison of a construct with a comparable life dimension like say, work, is yet another way through which leisure existence could be established. S further method that could be applied in the determination of leisure existence is by way of exploring its operation. For that reason, an exploration of leisure o the basis of work, life course, meaning, participation and satisfaction, becomes necessary.
One of the methods through which leisure existence could be determined is by way of assessing the presence of this form of a construct during various periods in life. Traditionally, a developmental concept has often been utilized in a bid to assess leisure from the point of view of the various life stages. A majority of the scholars in the area of leisure have published a lot of literature as regards life course, and its correlation with leisure (Rapoport & Rapoport1975; Kelly 1987, 1990; Kleiber, 1999; Mannell & Kleiber 1997).
Kleiber (1997) illustrates how development persuades the way through which persons are bale to experience leisure, and also the manner in which leisure has an impact on the development of individuals. Kleiber (1997) portrays the experience of leisure as one comprising of four characteristics that are connected to the development of humans.
Kleiber (1997) opines that leisure could be adjustive, generative, derivative, as well as maladaptive. The interface between human development and leisure takes place at all the stages of an individual’s life, meaning that we experience it during our young ages, and also during our sunset years. As individuals’ advances in age, they at the same time also tend to experiences various events in life. In the process, the leisure’s role often tends to assumes diverse meanings.
According to available research, it has been postulated that as individual advances in years, they replace, cease, or even continues taking part in certain activities of leisure (Iso-Ahola, Jackson & Dunn 1994). This particular study is about assessing the leisure participation, leisure satisfaction and emotional intelligence amongst junior high school students in Taiwan. As such, it is more of an assessment of the aforementioned parameters among young adults.
Kelly (1987) provides that the transition into a young adult involves a stage of life during which an individual; faces challenges as regards an embracing of a self-directed life, thereby leading to role confusion, and a crisis thus ensues (that of trying to ascertain their individual identities). In this regard, leisure could be relied upon to assist in such a transition phase during the adolescent years (Mannell & Kleiber 1997; Kleiber 1999).
It is during this stage that a lot of changes that have a bearing towards our interest in leisure take place. Mannell and Kleiber (1997) have proposed that this is the stage at which those leisure activities that we treasure as children blends with those that we enjoys engaging in as young adults. With advances in age, those institutions that revolve around our very existence are often used as yardstick to define us. For instance, a child becomes a pre-scholar, and then as they progress in age, they attend elementary school, then high school.
There is also the stage of life after school is over. In the same way, the work dimensions could be used as a way of defining individuals. An old adage provides that “play is child’s work.” During their years in high school, students are in a position to relate to the pool, grocery store, camp, or even a gas station. These are the places students in high school are likely to find work.
It is after high school that the young adults make choices regarding the occupations that they would want to be in later in life. On the other hand, adults are usually defined on the basis of the jobs that they occupy (that is lawyer, teacher, therapist, doctor).
In view of the fact that leisure resembles other life’s domains (for example, work and school) from a developmental point of view, leisure existence may be instituted by contrasting work to leisure. The connection between work and leisure has for a long time been explored (Kelly 1990, 1999; Godbey 1990; Mannell & Reid 1999).
The association could be assessed sequentially or it may as well be examined attitudinally. The chronological point of view quantifies leisure and work by means of time (Hunnicut 1989; Kelly 1990; Schor, 1991). While, the attitudinal standpoint scrutinizes leisure and work such constructs as enjoyment and satisfaction (Csikszentmihalyi 1975, 1990, 1997).
In spite of the perception used to examine this connection, the emergent evidence is that this kind of connection is complex. If leisure were to be defined as “time that is free from necessity”, while work retains the definition of “accomplishing something that needs to be done”, it would then be highly expected that form of an association would entail two contrasting dimensions (Kelly, 1990).
Nevertheless, should we instead resolve to assess those definite activities that individuals regard as constituting leisure (for instance, gardening), it then emerges that a necessity could suffice. Similarly, certain features of work tend to be quite enjoyable.
An operationalization of the experience of leisure
Mannell (1999) portrays three a conventional method through which scholars of leisure scrutinizes the skewed nature of the experience of leisure. The three viewpoints take account of the definitional context, the approach of the instantaneous conscious experience, as well as the satisfaction point of view (Mannell & Iso-Ahola 1987; Mannell & Kleiber 1997; Mannell 1999).
The definitional perspective entails” an identification of meanings and attributes that individual are expected to perceive as being correlated with setting, or an activity for it to be defined or construed as leisure “(Mannell 1999).
On the other hand, the instant conscious experience perspective takes into account “gauging the texture or quality of what individuals experience while performing leisure activities and assessing the effects of the social and physical setting, and also factors of personality with regard to experience (p. 237). The post- fulfillment perspective is more of an ‘after the fact’ examination outcome of a prior participation (s) (p. 238).
Based on these three methods of assessing the skewed nature of ‘the leisure experience’, it is insinuated that the experience of leisure consists of three aspects: meaning, participation, and satisfaction. Participation illustrates precisely what individuals do, or even go about accomplishing leisure activities.
Meaning portrays the manner in which individuals depicts each on of the experience of leisure through an assessment of where, when, with whom, and why we resolve to (or not to) accomplish leisure activities. Individuals have needs, desires and wants in virtually all the spheres of life. In this regard, satisfaction is depiction of ability to meet these wants, needs and desires.
Categories of leisure
The review of the literature of other researchers into the field of leisure activities has revealed that previously, there have been attempts to classify the various categories of leisure activities. The ‘factor analysis’ has emerged as the strategy that has been utilized to the greatest extent, in this particular regard. This is a form of analysis that tends to cluster information regarding the rate at which persons are involved in any one form of leisure activities.
Some of the examples of such an approach include the 1984 cluster analysis by Tinsley and Johnson, and which involved nine comparatively homogenous clusters of leisure activities. Additionally, Tinsley and Eldredge (1995) appear to have directly addressed the benefits that one stand to gain psychologically, by participating in leisure activities.
Tinsley and Eldredge (1995) projected leisure activities that rely on a classification of needs. Consequently, this cluster assessed a total of 82 leisure activities, in the process identifying 12 clusters of leisure activities. One of the clusters was evaluated as residual, while the remaining 11 clusters were named as novelty, agency, service, belongingness, sensual enjoyment, self-expression, cognitive simulation, creativity, vicarious competition, competition, and relaxation.
Moreover, other researchers (Fitzgerald, Hayes, Joseph and O’regan (1995) have thus far assessed the leisure activities that the adolescents schoolchildren engages in. this factor research study a total of six clusters were arrived at, and these includes sports, non-sports, ‘keep fit’ programs, computer/friends, and entertainment.
Savickas and Munson (1998) have also undertaken a study of the leisure activities amongst college students. In this regard, three categories of leisure activities emerged: relaxed activities (reading, socializing, and watching television), expressive activities (for instance, games and sports, hobbies, arts, and music) and learning activities (for example, contemplating, and thinking).
Further, Yen (1997) has also studied the leisure constraints and participation amongst the colleges and university students in Taiwan. In line with this, a total of 59 items of activities emerged. Yen (1997), compiled these into nine models. Yen (1997) has projected that the students under her study were more inclined to engaging in patterns of activities that reflects on social recreation. Next in line, comes education and mass media activities, then social activities and music, outdoor recreation, sports, hobby activities and art, youth culture, games, religious activities ,and mediation.
Dumazedier (1967) opines that by participating in any form of leisure activity, this act tends to fulfill three purposes: entertainment, relaxation, and personality development. By relaxing, an individual gets an opportunity to recover from one form of fatigue or another. On the other hand, entertainment helps individuals to overcome boredom, while the development of personality enhances the knowledge of such individuals.
Dumazedier (1967) further posits that leisure assist in the liberation of an individual from the chains of the day-to-day actions and thought automatism. Brown, Peterson and Driver (1991) have explored a wide variety of benefits that both individual; and societies alike are bound to receive. Leisure benefits includes positive physical and mental health as well as an enhanced psychological security, happiness, self-esteem, and social relations (Lu & Argyle, 1994; Iso-Ahola, 1993, 1997; Tinsley & Eldredge, 1995).
By participating in leisure activities, an individual is better able to handles the multitude of stresses that life shall occasionally throw their way. Moreover, it aids a person’s perception that reinforcement is indeed available. Besides, leisure participation could as well aid in the fostering of self-determination, an outlook that has hitherto been associated with enhanced individual capacity to cope with challenges of life, as well as matters of health (Coleman & Iso-Ahola 1993).
From a psychological point of view, the experience of leisure benefits seems to have been advocate for by social scientists for more than half a century. A couple of health advantages, both psychological and physical, could as well be credited to the behavior of participating in leisure activities on a regular basis. To this end, leisure educators have made it a habit to inform the members of the public on the importance of participating in leisure activities (Driver, Brown, & Peterson, 1991).
Furthermore, leisure activity might as well be a contributing factor to the augmentation of the conviction that an individual possesses within themselves the ability to instigate actions, with accomplishments and attain triumphant results. When an individual allows themselves to learn a novel leisure activity, such a person is thus at a position to develop control, commitment, as well as an acceptance of challenges (Godbey, 1999).
According to Harrison (1976) and Neulinger (1981), an attitude could be viewed at as an outlook towards either an event, or an object. It is also a generally held assumption that such an outlook has behavioral, cognitive, and affective elements (Harrison 1976; Neulinger 1981). The cognitive element has beliefs and thoughts regarding the object of the attitude. The affective element is made up of emotions and feelings that individual often possesses with regard to the attitude object.
On the other hand, the behavioral element covers the actions of people as regards the attitude object based on feelings and beliefs (Harrison, 1976). Attitudes replicate wide-ranging assessments that citizens holds of other individuals, themselves, upon issues, and objects (Petty 1995). Attitudes formation constitutes one of the functions in the socialization process.
Following the development of an attitude, a person often continues articulating such an attitude in the form of feelings, thoughts, as well as behaviors. The specific feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that are of interest to the service providers of leisure happen to be those that are linked to a participation in leisure (Dattilo 1999).
Neulinger (1981) has defined the attitude of an individual in as far as leisure is concerned, to be her/his specific way of feeling about, thinking about, as well as acting in regard to, or in regard of, leisure. People often take an assumption that behaviors are usually preceded by affect or beliefs. When a person comes to like a specific activity of leisure, then they are apt to perform it.
On the other hand, the association between behaviors and attitudes tends to be extremely weak. A lot of competing attitudes as well as situational restraints have the ability to derail a person from action in response to ach and every attitude (Crandall & Slivken 1980). For instance, it is possible for a teenager to enjoy taking part in golfing for leisure, but may at the same time cease doing that which they enjoy in the event that their family members or peers do not approve of such a leisure activity.
Under practical terms, attitudes are used primarily in reference to the cognitive and affective reactions, as opposed to behavior. The mere aspect of participating in one form of leisure activity or another not in itself, indicates if an individual is really experiencing a ‘leisure state of mind’. As a consequence, taking part in supposed leisure activities attains value only when such an action leads to an individual state of mind which is better expressed via leisure attitudes that are positive (Crandall & Slivken, 1980).
Current developments in education circles indicate that the society is gradually shifting towards a total embracing of the emotional intelligence concept. This can be attested by the education curriculum of a majority of the schools, in which students receive activities that demands that they interact amongst themselves, at a personalized level.
According to emotional intelligence theories, people that tend to interact amongst one another contentedly have a higher likelihood of succeeding in their activities. This is a clear indication of how vital emotional intelligence has turned into as a concept, from the perspective of formal schooling. Schools have remained as personality mentors. In addition, our personalities also tend to assume their shapes at schools, as a continuation of a process that was initiated at home.
Emotional intelligence is slowly turning into a noticeable construct that has an impact on the performance levels of students in schools. The theoretical genesis of emotional intelligence is established intelligence theories. Gardener (1993) proposed the ‘multiple intelligence theory’, and this includes both intra and interpersonal intelligence. Interpersonal intelligence her, refers to the ability to understand others, while at the same time acting on such an understanding.
On the other hand, intrapersonal intelligence refers to a capacity to know how one views various emotional choices, to better comprehend why an individual acts the way they do, as well as a comprehension of the ability to act in ways that are in tandem with the needs of individual needs, abilities and goals.
Attention towards the conception of both the inter and intrapersonal intelligence can be obtained from a wide range of researches that are being conducted in the field of emotional intelligence Alexithymia- an interruption of the expression of emotions- is yet another significant construct that has had an impact in as far as the structure of emotional intelligence is concerned. Alexithymia comes about due to a deficiency in self-awareness from an emotion point of view, as well as a failure to exhibit suitable expressions of emotions.
These two constitutes essential elements of emotional intelligence (Bar-on 1997). A lot of studies that have been conducted in the education and business fields have since exhibited positive relations between leisure activities on the one hand, and emotional intelligence aspects, on the other hand (Sosik & Megerian, 1999).
Moreover, emotional intelligence has also been shown to be a key pointer of such variable as self-efficacy, transformational leadership, and spirituality (Hartsfield, 2003). In addition, emotional intelligence has also been linked to an ability to envisage the satisfiers of life (Ciarrochi, Chan, & Capti, 2000), and also improved success in academics (Parker et al 2004). Due to the results revealed by such studies, emotional intelligence as a concept has since gained recognition as being among the key indicators of the successes of life (Boyatzis, Goleman, & Rhee, 2000).
According to Zeidner et al (2004), emotional intelligence is a comparatively novel construct that seems to be gathering momentum thanks to suggestions that emotional intelligence measures bears a correlation with certain desirable effects, and these includes, but are not limited to, health and performance.
In spite of other being conflicting definitions of emotional intelligence, Mayor and Salovey (1997) views it as “the capacity to recognize precisely, evaluate and articulate emotion; the capability to access and/or cause thoughts when they aid emotions; the knack to comprehend feeling and emotional understanding; and the skill to adjust emotions to advance intellectual and emotional development”.
Mayer, et al. (2000) clarified that emotional intelligence is composed of four levels of hierarchy, and whose complexity differs with regard to how individuals manage, perceive, and utilize emotions. Emotional perception occupies the lowest levels of the skills. The other higher level entails the assessment of emotional experiences, for instance, an evaluation of one form of emotion relative to another, and in relation with other thoughts and sensations.
Level three entails reasoning and understanding of the emotions. In this regard, each and every single emotion confirms to its own particular rules. Moreover, each emotion gets transformed based on its individual characteristic regulations. Emotional intelligence entails the capability to recognize emotions, comprehend their pattern of alteration, and also to reason in line with the emotions.
The regulation and management of emotions constitutes the highest levels of skill, and this could include identifying how one can be able to calm down following episodes of anger of nervousness. In the last couple of years, there has been witnessed a growth in the number of students enrolling in high school (Dawson, 1994; Wright, 1996). A majority of the students who joins high school may have to withdraw before they can graduate (Gerdes & Mallinckrodt, 1994; Pancer, et al., 2000).
Elementary school teachers have to contend with a couple of novel interpersonal as well as personal responsibilities, and this includes, but is not restricted to, meeting and having new friends (Parker, et al., 2004). The authors were able to identify somewhat little researched emotional intelligence construct as one of the issues that could impact on the experience of such students.
Mayer et al (2002) has also proposed an ability to identify, control, and process one’s personal emotions. For this reason, those junior high school students possessing high levels of emotional intelligence are better placed to handle the rise in emotional stresses, and also the ability to handle socials modifications as regard friendship (Engelberg & Sjoberg, 2004). Brackett, Warner, and Mayer (2002) undertook a study to assess the link between personality and emotional intelligence.
According to the findings of this research study, a deficiency in emotional intelligence bore a correlation with alcohol use, drug abuse, poor bonds in friendship, and deviant behavior (Brackett, Warner, & Mayer 2002).
Emotional intelligence, leisure and happiness
As per the observation by Kauss (1996), the way an individual feels has an impact on their leisure performance. According to Mayer and Salovey (2000), emotional intelligence could be described as that compartment entailing social intelligence, and which encompasses the capability of a person to assess their own emotions, as well as those of others, to differentiate between them, and also to make use of the ensuing information as a guide to their own actions and thinking.
Mayer and Salovey (2000) further opined that emotional intelligence often entails the capability to reason about and with our emotions, and the ability of this kind of emotion to augment thought. Hein (2005) has portrayed emotional intelligence as the ability to know how one could be in a position to differentiate between unhealthy as well as the healthy feelings, while at the same time also being able to separate these.
Hein (2005) has also emphasized on a need to convert the negative thoughts that individuals harbors into positive thoughts. To this end, Goleman (1998) has stressed that this involves the management of feelings in order that these may be expressed more effectively and appropriately. When this is done, individuals are at a better position to coordinate smoothly in a bid to attain common objectives.
Goleman (1998) postulates that thus far, emotional intelligence has come to be regarded as a more valuable gauge of the capabilities of human beings, while programs that seeks to serve the attainment of emotional intelligence have verified attractive to improved productivity in a multitude of fields where human activities takes place. This notwithstanding, there are limited sources that appears to have addressed the relationship between emotional intelligence, leisure participation and leisure satisfaction amongst elementary school teachers.
As a novel concept in the field of psychology, emotional intelligence became known in the latter part of the 1980s. Nevertheless, this concept has over the years gained immense popularity, and has thus come to be acceptable in the area of psychology as suitable expression that is often called upon whenever the fundamental emotional elements of individual talents are being evaluated (Goleman. 1995), as well as the capability (Mayer & Salovey 1997) and the possession of various skills (Jacobs 2001) that enables individuals to understand, recognize, and utilize emotional information and applicable to oneself, and hose that surrounds them, to contribute towards superior or effective performance.
Skills of the emotional intelligence are nevertheless portrayed in synergistic terms, by the use of cognitive skills (1998). Studies have it that those who perform exceptionally well in any one given field also happens to possess both emotional intelligence skill, as well as cognitive skills. As a given job or task becomes more complicated, so does the importance of emotional intelligence capabilities, perhaps due to the fact that should there b a deficiency in as far as these abilities are concerned, then these could hamper the utilization of either the intellectual capacity, or technical expertise that a certain individual may be in possession of (Goleman. 1995).
The efficiency with which emotional intelligence moves with is a better gauge of the level of productivity of the individuals in question, as well as its augmenting as an effective booster of the performance of humans, and which has thus far been demonstrated but up to this point, has only been confined to corporate, industrial, as well as general activities in a commercial setting.
Goleman (1995) talks of emotional intelligence in terms of groups of definite practical skills. The foremost group has been termed as emotional self awareness. This group entails knowledge of an individual’s preferences, internal states as well as resources. In addition, it involves recognition of a person’s emotions and the effect that they have on them and those around them. Besides, the group encompasses an identification of n individual’s limits, strengths, while at the same time being at a position to identify one’s capabilities and self-worth.
The second cluster could be regarded as a social awareness group, and whose practical skills include service orientation and empathy. The other cluster is termed the group of managing emotional relationship. There are a number of practical skills that are affiliated to this group and these includes the improvement of the inspirational leadership of others, teamwork, the management of conflict, influence, as an ability to act as a change catalyst for others.
The management of one’s emotional intelligence has been highlighted as the fourth aspect of ‘emotional intelligence’. The practical; skill cluster that is a characteristic of this group includes a development of transparency, self control, adaptability, as well as achievement orientation feelings. This latter facet entails a resolve by an individual to improve or meet a certain standard of achievement, optimism or initiative (Goleman, 1998).
Without a doubt, a lot of environmental issues have thus far been portrayed as having strong association with leisure activities, and these includes money, and work, and happiness. On the other hand, it has been the observation of some researchers that personality has a greater impact on the choices that any one individual makes as regards leisure participation compared to social class, race, social relationships, money, leisure, work, religion, as well as a multitude of other variable external to an individual (Diener et al. 1999).
In fact, an individuals enduring features could as well have stronger effects, impacting on a person’s level of happiness ‘inside out’, and thus aiding in an augmented participation in leisure by that person and hopefully, getting satisfaction along the way as well (Eysenck 1983). For instance, Larsen and Diener (1984) were bale to discover that negative as well as positive affect in a variety of leisure and work situations was greatly attributed to individual (52 percent) as opposed to situations (23 percent).
Furthermore, researchers have since portrayed an interaction between the situations that surrounds an individual, and the effects this has on such an individual. According to Larsen and Ketelaar (1991), extroverts have a higher likelihood of reacting in a stronger manner when faced with positive stimuli, as opposed to their introvert counterparts. What this means then, is that should extroverts be combined with situations that appeals to them, and thus are pleasant, then it is more that likely that positive results shall be produced.
Not many studies have explored the relationship between emotional intelligence and happiness, which is thought to be greatly enhanced by an individuals taking part in a leisure activity. As can be seen, happiness yields satisfaction, and the two are often augmented by leisure activities. In most of the instances, people like engaging in leisure activities that they enjoy.
As such, it would not be expected for an individual to be dissatisfied per se with the form of leisure that they so choose to engage in. nevertheless, leisure, from this definition, is a complex term that takes into account a variety of meanings and definitions. As such, what could be leisure to one individual may not be to another. In a case whereby individuals have to engage in shared leisure activities, then it is possible for some individual to feel less satisfied with the kind of leisure activity that they have chosen to engage in.
At this point, the issue of personality comes in, such as the difference between introverts and extroverts. Trait emotional intelligence has been viewed at as a collection of self-perceived, emotionally-linked outlook and capabilities at the ‘lesser’ personality chain of command levels (Petrides & Furnham 2001). According to Petrides and Furnham (2003) there are 15 elements that are seen to be the foundation of the questionnaire regarding trait emotional intelligence.
They entail assertiveness, adaptability, emotional perception, relationship skills, regulation and expression, empathy, social competence, and the management of stress. Individual possessing high emotional intelligence traits are of the belief that they are better able to ‘stay in touch’ with their emotions, and that they are bale to control these in such a manner as to enhance well-being.
As Furnham and Petrides (2003) observed, emotion intelligence appear to be a envisage happiness, and this could be a pointer to more that 50 percent of its overall variance in their study. Even as openness, extraversion, as well as stability bore a relation with happiness with regard to regression statistics of this survey by Furnham and Petrides (2003), emotional intelligence still remain the a noteworthy predictor.
One approach to look at the relationship among leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence amongst elementary school teachers is for a researcher to analyze their experiences regarding these issues. A research outlook that is naturalistic in nature rests on the notion that “an up-and-coming propositional or hypothetical consideration… is often grounded in the real worlds as well as the real lives of the individuals and the occurrence under study” (Bullock, 1993, p.29).
To accurately scrutinize the world in which we live in from the point of view of the persons under study, it becomes important then, that the individual undertaking a research study be free of pre-conceived notions, prior to the undertaking of such a researcher. In this regard, it is the ensuing data that speaks for the situation at hand. The practice of drawing theory from data is what is known as grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998).
Corbin and Strauss anticipated that “grounded theory” be utilized in the generation of novel theories, or even in the expansion of those theories that are already in existence. According to Strauss and Corbin (1998) the construction of a theory from available data assists in the augmenting of a number of theories via relationship statements. Moreover, the practice facilitates the users of such data to predict and explain a number of events, and this acts as guidance to the actions to take in such a scenario.
Even though the concert of the grounded theory lays emphasis on a researcher to explore a researcher project without as much as having prior notions as regards the project, the reality though, is that each and every research study has to commence with either a hypothesis, or a research question. The formulation of the questions often adopted in research studies usually are based on the background as well as the experience that a researcher has with the topic in question.
This is no different with a research study on the relationship between leisure participation and emotional intelligence. According to Strauss and Corbin (1998), researching questions often emerges fro ma wide range of sources. First, these could emanate form assigned or suggested problems of the research. In addition, they could also emanate from either technical or non-technical sources. Professional as well as the personal experiences is yet another area where research questions for a project study could come from. Finally, the research question may as well emanate from the actual research.
That same information that is responsible for guiding in the formulation and execution of research questions in a study, are also responsible for assisting a researcher when they are collecting data fro the very first time. While this kind of information may help in the establishment of a background for research study, individuals undertaking a research study are not only open to, but are also promote the emergence of additional data. As such, this act to broaden their outlook in as far as a specific phenomenon is concerned.
One of the perceptions that is normally implemented (as a hypothetical underlying principle in studies that involves leisure) to assist in a better understanding of the meaning, and experience of leisure is that of ‘symbolic interactionism’. (Kelly 1983, 1987; Rossman & Schlatter 2000; Samdahl 1986 1988).
Hewitt (1991) opine that symbolic interactionism “affords a distinct way of appreciating the social conduct of humans, as well as the group life” (p. 5). As a perception, symbolic interactionism integrates the personal psychological elements with sociological influences (Blumer 1969; Hewitt 1991; Mead 1962). This point of view takes into consideration the idea that persons are at a position to process meanings internally, and such meanings often tend to be related to the external persuasions.
The theory of meaning, as hypothesized by Mead (1962) has a fundamental basis in as far as the concept of symbolic interactionism is concerned. Mead posits that meaning is the “links human gestures with their ensuing behavior, in line with the gestures that are often portrayed by another organism’ (p. 79).
Mead (1962) has further opined that meaning tends to be linked to social developments. For that reason, it would be prudent to suggest that once individuals encounter other individuals, they often tend to establish opinions that have a bearing to thee interactions that they encounter. The theory of symbolic interactionism rests on an assumption that human beings often react towards events, or things, based on the significance that such events or things has on such individuals.
In line with this, meaning of events and things comes about as a result of a social interaction between an individual, and those that they associate with. Through interpretive processes, such meanings tend to be either handle, or modified. As such, symbolic interactionism could be regarded as endeavors to illustrate how individuals describe, as well as interpret their individual experience with life.
It has been the suggestions of countless authors that it is quite possible to assess behaviors of leisure through the use of a symbolic interactionist point of view (Kelly, 1987; Rossman & Schlatter, 2000). According to Samdahl (1986), the concept of symbolic interactionist takes into account the notion that leisure ought to be looked at as a relationship characteristic between a social milieu on the one hand, and an individual, on he other hand.
Samdahl (1986) further make an elaboration on the particular elaborates on this premise by asserting that leisure, in itself, could be viewed at as a specific description of the circumstance. (p. 22). Rossman and Schlatter (2000) have concurred with the observation by Samdahl (1986), by positing that leisure is an exceptional connotation credited to definite social gatherings that often come about as a result of individuals getting involved with other individual by way of having an interaction with objects in such gatherings (p. 23).
Rossman and Schlatter (2000) have postulated that upon the use of the concept of symbolic interactionist, experience of leisure assumes three stages: participation, anticipation, and reflection. An individual who participates in a leisure activity often tends to assign certain meanings to the objects of leisure in each and every stage of the leisure experience.
Rossman and Schlatter (2000) have further opined that the objects of leisure could be abstract (for instance, philosophies, or ideas), physical (for example, supplies, equipments), or social. For that reason, when probing leisure from the point of view of a symbolic interactionist, there is a need to lay more emphasis on comprehending meanings that persons distinguish s they undergo the experience of leisure.
Such meanings could be connected to motivations, definitions, and/or contentment. Fundamentally, from the point of view of a symbolic interactionist, importance is placed on the assessment of the link between the individual that takes part in a research study, and the objects of leisure that such a participant identifies as being central to the experiencing of leisure.
Summary of Project Purpose
The main purpose of this research is to analyze the relationship between leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence amongst elementary school teachers in Northern Taiwan. Thus, a methodology and a data collection plan must be setup in order for the researcher to be able to reach its goal for this project.
Research methodology has been defined as “the application of science-based procedures with a view to acquiring solutions to a number of research questions (Adams & Schvaneveldt, 1991). A research methodology supplies the necessary tools to aid in the carrying out of a research, whose goal is to obtain the needed information.
A research methodology entails the whole conceptualization process, an observation of the problems that needs to be studied, research questions formulation, the collection of data, data analysis, and the eventual generation of the research findings. Nevertheless, there are a number of authors who have come up with alternative methods of research (Yan et al., 2002; Ghauri et al., 1995; Yin, 1994).
The availability of literature as regards the methods of research assists in the process of classifying the suitable and appropriate methods necessary to conduct a specific kind of research. Moreover, Ghauri et al (1995) opines that the method often selected for use in a certain given research study is determined by the objectives and problems that such a research presents.
Furthermore, selecting a desirable method of research is determined by the context of the potential research. In addition, the availability of adequate literature material to warrant such a study shall also determine the research method that is adopted for a given research study, so that the relevant topics can be adequately assessed. In a situation whereby this does not happen, then there is a need for the conduction of further studies so as to fill in the remaining gap.
A research design could either employ a quantitative approach or one that is qualitative. In this case, the research study employed a quantitative research approach, through the use of a self-administered questionnaire. This was with a view to enhancing the development of inferential as well as descriptive statistics to enable an answering of the research questions developed by this study.
According to Creswell (2008), a research design is a framework for collecting and utilizing sets of data that aims to produce logical and appropriate findings with great accuracy, and that aims to adequately and reasonably rest a research hypothesis, especially in a case whereby a quantitative study is being undertaken.
At the same time, the quantitative research design adopted by this method enabled the respondents, through a self-administered questionnaire to record their views and opinions as regards leisure activities, participation and satisfaction, and a relationship of these to the emotional intelligence of the participants. The questionnaire instrument had to be translated into the Chinese language, and at the same time also had to be tested for reliability and validity, both in Chinese and English.
A quantitative research study by employing a structured questionnaire enables a researcher to collect data from a greater number of respondents within a population under study, with the result that the capacity of a study to generate conclusive findings is enhanced. nevertheless, a quantitative research design has a certain weakness, in that is fails to capture the ‘phenomenological approach’ of a study at hand, something that would be have been catered for if both a qualitative and a quantitative research design had been conducted.
Sampling strategy and participants
This research study sought to target 600 elementary school teachers in the northern part of Taiwan. In addition, all the participants of the study were on a voluntary basis, meaning that they were both willing and available to take part in this research study, by way of completing the structured research questionnaire. Overall, the subject sample was made up of both male and female Taiwanese elementary school teachers, whose age was between 23 and 55 years.
Furthermore, these study participants were of varied marital status, socioeconomic status, and religious affiliations. As such, the selection of the study participants was arrived at based on a convenience sample, out of a wider group of elementary school teachers in the northern part of Taiwan.
The sample size arrived at by this research study is in keeping with the theorem of central limits, which provides that in order fro a research study to attain a level of confidence of 95 percent, it is necessary that the individuals under the sample size be above 384 in number. Of course, the figure 6oo that was the actual number of the research study respondents identified, was arrived at based on the premise that not all those who were willing to take part in this research study may end up doing so.
In addition, others participants would naturally be expected to commit errors while filling out the questionnaires, and these would of course have to be excluded from statistical analysis. In terms of the sampling strategy, this research study settled for a stratified random sampling technique, whose aim was to get a cross-section of elementary school teachers in Taiwan, between the ages of 23 and 55 years.
The age limit are based on a fact that a majority of the Taiwanese elementary school teachers assumes their teaching careers at this age, with the retirement age pegged at 55 years. In order to facilitate in sample populating identification, use was made of various educational directories that illustrated the distribution of elementary school teachers in the various institutions within the northern Taiwanese region.
On of the pre-screening process that this study undertook was that of precluding any participants who were neither elementary school teachers, nor within the specified age group. The participants were selected in a random manner, whereby every fifth elementary school teacher who attained the specified criteria was included in the study. There were a number of criteria for selection of individual participants into this research study:
- the participants filed out all the necessary pares provided by the researcher
- the participants attended the testing date
- the participants took part in the questionnaire filling exercise
- the participants were signatory to the study’s consent forms as well as other relevant documents.
Participation into this research study was fully on voluntary basis, and as such, no compensation (monetary or otherwise) was awarded to participants. Moreover, participants were free to withdraw from the research study at any period.
Reliability and validity in the collection of data
If we are to substantiate our research findings, it is important that their validity and reliability be safeguarded too (Charles 1995). Reliability has been defined as the ability to measure, from one dimension, certain variable with the least amount of errors (Denzin 1978). In other words, it is the degree of consistency of measurements.
Repetitive measurements ought to produce matching results. On the other hand, validity legitimizes that which is being measured. Though a measurement may prove to be reliable, this does not however imply that it is valid also (Crocker & Algina 1986). Through the application of a variety of statistical procedures, it is however possible to validate statistical results.
From the perspective of a quantitative research, reliability is often interpreted to imply consistency. In this regard, a certain construct gets captured reliably when a wide range of measurements of that same construct gives similar results.
Based on these reliability notions, a reader is often provided with an assurance that the results findings of a research study being undertaken are not just another one of the several artifact of the research design, of the survey being undertaken for that matter. The message relayed is that these findings are in fact reproducible. Charles (1995) has argued that the social facts that we possess are as a result of attitudes and perceptions that we hold, conditions that tend to change very fast as time goes (Charles 1995).
Rationale for the data collection plan
If we are to substantiate our research findings are to be substantiated, it is important that their validity and reliability be safeguarded too (Smith, 2003). Reliability has been defined as the ability to measure, from one dimension, certain variable with the least amount of errors (Brownell, 1995, p. 47). In other words, it is the degree of consistency of measurements.
Repetitive measurements ought to produce matching results. On the other hand, validity legitimizes that which is being measured. Though a measurement may prove to be reliable, this does not however imply that it is valid also (Smith, 2003.). Through the application of a variety of statistical procedures, it is however possible to validate statistical results.
Form the perspective of a quantitative research, reliability is often interpreted to imply consistency. In this regard, a certain construct gets captured reliably when a wide range of measurements of that same construct gives similar results. In accounting, measurements on performance are deemed to be reliably taken following the suggestion by several items that their reliance levels are consistent.
Based on these reliability notions, a reader is often provided with an assurance that the results findings of a research study being undertaken are not just another one of the several artifact of the research design, of the survey being undertaken for that matter.
The message relayed is that these findings are in fact reproducible. Otley (2001) has argued that the social facts that we possess are as a result of attitudes and perceptions that we hold, conditions that tend to change very fast as time goes (Otley, 2001, p. 248).
This research design utilized a standard semi-structured survey questionnaire that sought to explore the leisure attitudes, participation, experiences and activities, leisure satisfaction and a relationship of these to the emotional intelligence of the respondents. In order to facilitate in a collection of quantitative data, it was thus necessary to employ the use of standardized instruments.
The Leisure Assessment Inventory (LAI) instrument, as developed by Hawkins (1998) was therefore identified. This instrument examines adult behavior in leisure activities via various components; the Leisure Satisfaction Scale (LSS), and the Leisure Participation Involvement Scale (LPI). The latter assesses the involvement level of a person within a wide variety of activities, through an exploration of such an individual’s current ‘leisure activities repertoire’, and leisure functioning.
The instrument also utilizes a five-point scale interval to determine the participation level in the different kinds of leisure activities that have been included on the scale. This instrument seeks to illustrate an individual’s leisure preference for a certain kind of activity on the basis of the frequency with which such an individual takes part (participates) in such an activity.
This instrument thus correlates participation frequency with preference. Nevertheless, the instrument does not seek to examine possible barriers to taking part in a leisure activity, for example, a physical disability. Such shortcomings notwithstanding, this instrument is also regarded as a preference index for activities of leisure.
On the other hand, the LSS is an index of an individuals’ leisure satisfaction level, on the basis of 24 questions. The instrument utilizes a Likert-scale of five points, as a way of rating the agreement level of a respondent, with different kinds of statements that addresses the satisfaction an individual often derives out of taking part in the various activities of leisure.
The scoring of LSS is on the basis of ‘a composite of individual items” that this instrument seeks to query, and in which a higher score often translates into an elevated leisure satisfaction. On this case, both the LSS and LPI had to be translated first into the Chinese dialect (Lin, 2001) prior to an administering of the same to the respondents of the research study.
In the case of the emotional intelligence, the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale, as discussed by Mayer, Caruso and Salovey (1998) was utilized. This is an “ability-based test” that requires the test-taker to undertake activities that are often designed to evaluate their ability to identify, perceive, utilize, and understand emotions.
The research study fro this particular study consisted of the principle researcher, assisted by two research assistants, whose qualifications were of the graduate level education. The identified sample population had the research questionnaires administered to them in the Taiwanese dialect. On average, each participant took 20 minutes to fill in the details of the research study questionnaire.
During the entire period of data collection, the research team assured the participants’ confidentiality by assuming coded names for the research questionnaires, so that instead of having the names of the respondents appearing on their individual questionnaires, the coded name of the research team member administering it appeared. As such, the privacy and confidentially of the study participants were assured.
Once the data collection exercise was over, the filed-in research questionnaires were stored in a secure and safe place, until such a time as when it was deemed necessary to undertake the analysis of the data. Once the data had been cleaned, complied and analyzed, the research questionnaires were then later destroyed. Again, this was a cushioning effect geared towards the safeguarding of the anonymity of the research study respondents.
From the onset, the intention of this research study was to conform the “the highest levels of professional social science ethics”. In light of this, the purpose as well as the problem statement of this research study had to be disclosed to the would-be participants beforehand, as well as to any other individuals who would have a vested interest in this research study. These included professors, the committee of the dissertation, students advisors, and other students., the exercise of gathering information was via surveys undertaken by the researcher and the assistants, through an administering exercise if the study questionnaire to the respondents.
In addition, all the study participants volunteered to take part in this research. Moreover, the participants were free to either withdraw or decline to be part of this research study at any point. The research was therefore alive to the idea that of participant having a change of heart about taking part in the research study, and so sought to honor the wishes of the participants.
The participation information was availed to the respondents in writing. Such information underscored the objectives and scope of this research study. It is worth of note that by participating in this research study, the respondents were in no way placed at a personal risk. This is because the research methodology catered for the identity and confidentiality of the respondents by way of utilizing anonymous questionnaires for purposes of both safeguarding and assuring the security of the research data so obtained.
Presentation of data
According to Creswell (2008), the best method to minimise the measurement error is to “use a good [research] instrument” (p. 394). Therefore, one of the research instrument used in both qualitative and quantitative research studies is a questionnaire. A questionnaire could either be open-ended, or closed. The use of open ended questions enables individuals to express their views freely without having any limitations (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison 2002) based on their “cultural and social experiences” (Creswell 2008, p. 399).
Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2002 p. 255) furthermore states that “closed and open ended questions can catch the authenticity, richness, depth of response, honesty and candour which is […] the hallmarks of quantitative data”. Questionnaires could either be self-administered, or conducted by a researcher.
According to Creswell (2008), personal administration has the obvious advantage of making the respondent understand the questions and concepts involved. Personal administration also gives a respondent the opportunity to ask for clarifications. Personal administration also yields the lowest refusal rate among respondents. It also allows for detailed, longer, and more complicated interviews to be undertaken (Lee & Johnson 1999).
The use of a questionnaire alone in a research study may not give the desired results of the study. Therefore, a key informant interview may also be undertaken for the purpose of collecting data. According to Cohen, Manion, and Morrison (2002), individuals have different significations to the same question given in the questionnaire. It is therefore important to offer an interview to dig deeper into the subject.
In addition, an interview is the most appropriate method used to obtain respondents beliefs and attitudes, as by the observation by Cohen, Manion and Morrison. (2002) opines that face- to- face inquiry presents a possibility to change the direction of the interview by probing to accommodate new comments and insights made by the participants (p. 50).
According to Patton (1990) it is possible to select the participant of a qualitative data analysis on the basis of a maximum variation, a kind of purposeful sampling. Such a sampling method takes the assumption that it is incumbent upon the research to select that sample which seem to be suited most in promoting learning, acquiring of insights, and discoveries (Patton, 1990). It is also the position of Patton that this technique usually produces insights into a wide variety of dynamics, organizational contexts, as well as phenomenon. Accordingly, a researcher may opt to base their criteria of selection for participants on purely low or high exposure levels, as regards the causes and effects of internal control deficiencies in an organization under scrutiny.
Both the qualitative and quantitative methods of research design may utilize a developed questionnaire as an instrument for facilitating in the collection of the necessary data to facilitate the study at hand. Such a questionnaire then could be structured, or even semi-structured, depending of course on the kind of data that need to be obtained, and also based on the research design that has bee adopted by the study; either qualitative, or quantitative.
Once data was collected, data for the study was analyzed using various statistical packages namely SPSS and Excel to generate frequencies and percentages needed to answer the research objectives. Analysis would be carried on the piracy of clothes and goods in China, and the impact this has had on the legitimate international trade in branded clothing products.
According to Creswell (2008), data analysis is the technique of gathering, transforming, and modeling data with the purpose of suggesting conclusions, highlighting useful information, and supporting decision making. Data analysis has manifold approaches and facets, encompassing varied techniques under a variety of names in different social science, science, and business domains.
The phenomenon under investigation by this study is very extensive and therefore limitations were experienced in designing the questionnaire questions to limit themselves to the field of leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and emotional intelligence. Another study limitation was that this study objective had only been undertaken in Taiwan at a very narrow empirical perspective. No solid data existed to show individual attitudes and behaviors in as far as the phenomenon under investigation is concerned. This therefore presented some difficulties in trying to form the basis of the study’s objectives.
Other study limitations include traveling costs, inadequate budgetary allocation, and a small sample size. The researcher however could not extend the size of the sample to be used in the study due to budgetary challenges. A more comprehensive study would have facilitated in shedding more light as regards the trends, attitudes and behaviors of the study groups from the perspective of leisure participation, leisure satisfaction and emotional intelligence.
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