Background: Engagement in leisure has a wide range of beneficial health effects. Yet, this evidence is derived from between-person methods that do not examine the momentary within-person processes theorized to explain leisure’s benefits. Purpose: This study examined momentary relationships between leisure and health and well-being in daily life. Methods: A community sample (n = 115) completed ecological momentary assessments six times a day for three consecutive days. At each measurement, participants indicated if they were engaging in leisure and reported on their mood, interest/boredom, and stress levels. Next, participants collected a saliva sample for cortisol analyses. Heart rate was assessed throughout the study. Results: Multilevel models revealed that participants had more positive and less negative mood, more interest, less stress, and lower heart rate when engaging in leisure than when not. Conclusions: Results suggest multiple mechanisms explaining leisure’s effectiveness, which can inform leisure-based interventions to improve health and well-being.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health