Document Type

Conference Paper


Department of Education Studies




Whereas schools are the most common educational settings worldwide, learning and personal growth can take place in other contexts outside the school system. One of these significant contexts is leisure. Characterized by relative freedom, fewer social constraints than other life domains, self-determination and intrinsic motivation, leisure has been identified as a major context for youth development.

This paper presents a study on adolescents’ choice and pursuit of their most important and interesting leisure activity. The Serious Leisure Inventory and Measure (SLIM) was distributed to 832 senior secondary school students from 10 secondary schools of different academic banding and geographically distributed around Hong Kong. In completing the questionnaire, students were asked to nominate leisure activity that they regard as most important and interesting. Data analysis revealed the popularity of sports and performance and fine arts activities in such nominations. Reasons for participation were mainly psychological. There were gender and school differences in relation to the activity choice and its underlying reasons. Difference were also found between students’ who scored high and those scoring low on the SLIM across gender, school banding, activity types, frequency and duration of activity participation, and reasons for activity choice. Results of the study revealed the existence of serious leisure among adolescents in Hong Kong and highlighted its potential for creating a lasting change in young people’s development. Implications are drawn for leisure education in schools and for expanding the studies on adolescents’ meaning making of their casual and serious leisure pursuits across different sociocultural settings.


Adolescents, Serious Leisure, Secondary School, Education, Hong Kong

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Source Publication Title

The Asian Conference on Education & International Development 2017 Official Conference Proceedings

Conference Location

Kobe, Japan


The International Academic Forum (IAFOR)


© The International Academic Forum 2017. The International Academic Forum (IAFOR)
Atara, S., Tam, V., Siu, G., Chan, A., & Stebbins, R. (2017 March 26-29). Taking leisure seriously: Adolescents’ pursuit of their most important and interesting leisure activities. In The Asian Conference on Education & International Development 2017 Official Conference Proceedings. Paper presented at ACEID2017: Education for sustainable development, Japan. Japan: IAFOR
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The work described in this paper was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. 12601115, HKBU)

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