Title

Preferred activities and well being: A study of occupation

Location

New River Room A

Start Time

2-10-2015 3:00 PM

End Time

2-10-2015 4:30 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

A sense of wellbeing is considered to be a universal phenomenon lying at the heart of happiness and quality of life. Factors believed to affect subjective wellbeing can be summarized as the person’s circumstances, genetic make-up, and intentional participation in activities that are freely chosen (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005; Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006). Occupational scientists who are interested in studying intentional activities that impact wellbeing may address this factor as play or as harmonious passions or activities that people find important, that are related to their identity, and that make “a life worth living” (Vallerand et al., 2003; Vallerand, 2008). Deconstructing these experiences may lead to a deeper understanding of well-being and quality of life. This is a task for which occupational scientists are well suited.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the experiential qualities of freely chosen, pleasurable activities, as reported by adults in the general population.

Method: The instrument used to measure the experiential qualities of freely chosen, pleasurable activities was a modified version of the Daily Occupational Experience Survey (revised) (DOES-r), a self-report questionnaire in which respondents select a preferred activity and identify the characteristic experiences that accompany their engagement in it (Blanche, 2002). The study methods consisted of 3 phases: (1) revision of the instrument based on findings from the original pilot study, (2) data collection via Qualtrics, and (3) analysis of the data. Participants were 18 to 64 years old, and represented a variety of professions and interests (N=450). As guided by the survey, each participant identified one activity they considered to be their preferred pleasurable activity or their passion, and specified the experiential characteristics of that activity using a list of 31 potential experiences. Experiential items targeted the motivation to enter into the activity (e.g., I feel creative, I feel happy) and the characteristics of the activity as perceived by the participant (e.g., activity requires imagination, requires mental activity).

Results and Discussion: Exploratory factor analysis of the 31 experiential items yielded five factors: creativity, restoration, heightened self-awareness, ludos, and mastery.

The creativity factor was defined by experiences of imagination, mental activity, being exposed to new experiences, being spontaneous and lighthearted, and doing for others. The restoration factor combined relaxation and being lighthearted with doing for oneself. The heightened self-awareness factor represented experiences in which the person seeks intense physical activity which are exciting and leaves the person full of energy. The ludos factor represented the experience of pure play, i.e., an activity without a clear purpose that is engaged in mainly to experience joy. The mastery factor appeared to be the opposite of ludos, as it linked routines that are necessary to perform with enjoyment derived from doing something that the person can do well. Findings suggest that the research instrument may be valuable in future research that aims to explore and understand meaningful leisure occupation choices among adults with a variety of life challenges.

References

Blanche, E. I. (2002). Play and process: Adult play embedded in the daily routine. In J. Roopnarine (Ed.). Conceptual, social-cognitive, and contextual issues in the field of play 249-278. Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing.

Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of general psychology, 9(2), 111.

Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). Achieving sustainable gains in happiness: Change your actions, not your circumstances*. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(1), 55-86.

Vallerand, R. J., Blanchard, C., Mageau, G. A., Koestner, R., Ratelle, C., Léonard, M., ... & Marsolais, J. (2003). Les passions de l'ame: on obsessive and harmonious passion. Journal of personality and social psychology, 85(4), 756.

Vallerand, R. J. (2008). On the psychology of passion: In search of what makes people's lives most worth living. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 49(1), 1.

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Oct 2nd, 3:00 PM Oct 2nd, 4:30 PM

Preferred activities and well being: A study of occupation

New River Room A

A sense of wellbeing is considered to be a universal phenomenon lying at the heart of happiness and quality of life. Factors believed to affect subjective wellbeing can be summarized as the person’s circumstances, genetic make-up, and intentional participation in activities that are freely chosen (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005; Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006). Occupational scientists who are interested in studying intentional activities that impact wellbeing may address this factor as play or as harmonious passions or activities that people find important, that are related to their identity, and that make “a life worth living” (Vallerand et al., 2003; Vallerand, 2008). Deconstructing these experiences may lead to a deeper understanding of well-being and quality of life. This is a task for which occupational scientists are well suited.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the experiential qualities of freely chosen, pleasurable activities, as reported by adults in the general population.

Method: The instrument used to measure the experiential qualities of freely chosen, pleasurable activities was a modified version of the Daily Occupational Experience Survey (revised) (DOES-r), a self-report questionnaire in which respondents select a preferred activity and identify the characteristic experiences that accompany their engagement in it (Blanche, 2002). The study methods consisted of 3 phases: (1) revision of the instrument based on findings from the original pilot study, (2) data collection via Qualtrics, and (3) analysis of the data. Participants were 18 to 64 years old, and represented a variety of professions and interests (N=450). As guided by the survey, each participant identified one activity they considered to be their preferred pleasurable activity or their passion, and specified the experiential characteristics of that activity using a list of 31 potential experiences. Experiential items targeted the motivation to enter into the activity (e.g., I feel creative, I feel happy) and the characteristics of the activity as perceived by the participant (e.g., activity requires imagination, requires mental activity).

Results and Discussion: Exploratory factor analysis of the 31 experiential items yielded five factors: creativity, restoration, heightened self-awareness, ludos, and mastery.

The creativity factor was defined by experiences of imagination, mental activity, being exposed to new experiences, being spontaneous and lighthearted, and doing for others. The restoration factor combined relaxation and being lighthearted with doing for oneself. The heightened self-awareness factor represented experiences in which the person seeks intense physical activity which are exciting and leaves the person full of energy. The ludos factor represented the experience of pure play, i.e., an activity without a clear purpose that is engaged in mainly to experience joy. The mastery factor appeared to be the opposite of ludos, as it linked routines that are necessary to perform with enjoyment derived from doing something that the person can do well. Findings suggest that the research instrument may be valuable in future research that aims to explore and understand meaningful leisure occupation choices among adults with a variety of life challenges.