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The Spiritual Benefits of Leisure

Key Message

Significant positive relationships were found between spiritual well-being and overall leisure activity participation, as well as, engagement in the leisure activity categories of personal
development activities, cultural activities, outdoor activities and
hobbies.

Source

Heintzman, Paul. (2009). The Spiritual Benefits of Leisure. Leisure/Loisir, 33(1), 419-445.

Purpose

This paper provides an integrated, critical synthesis of empirical studies related to the spiritual benefits of leisure that have been published in the last 18 years. After discussing the conceptualization of spiritual benefits, the paper reviews empirical research on the leisure benefits of spiritual experience, spiritual well being, and spiritual coping with stress, as well as research on the leisure factors that produce spiritual benefits. (p.419).

Evidence

The development of character (intra and inter-personal characteristics), which corresponds to the “connectedness with self and others” element of spiritual well-being, was the benefit most frequently reported by parents as an outcome of their
child’s participation in faith-based recreation activities. (p.423).

Significant positive relationships were found between spiritual well-being and overall leisure activity participation, as well as, engagement in the leisure activity categories of personal development activities, cultural activities, outdoor activities and
hobbies. (p.424).

In a study on the experience and role of leisure in the life of counselors and psychologists, Grafanaki et al. (2005) discovered that leisure provided opportunity for spiritual experience thereby helping participants achieve balance and integration in everyday life, and cope with the demands of their work. (p.425).

Dragon boat racing acted as a coping mechanism for the stressful life event of breast cancer as spiritual and other outcomes of this leisure pursuit contributed to spiritual health and enhanced survivorship following medical treatment for breast cancer. (p.425).

Similarly, Rehman et al. (2009) found that spiritual engagement during the leisure of unpaid caregivers served as a means of coping with challenging and stressful life experiences. (p.425).

In a study of gays and lesbians Iwasaki and Ristock (2004) found leisure to be a significant context to pursue spirituality and thus deal with stress. One lesbian suggested that her leisure activity of pottery was meditative. Similarly, Aboriginal participants engaged in culturally relevant leisure to facilitate empowerment and spiritual coping when confronted by racism and other forms of stress. (p.426).

In a study of Aboriginals with diabetes, many participants mentioned the role of culturally appropriate leisure in bringing about spiritual rejuvenation. (p.426).

Additional Information

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Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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