Building resilience to stress through leisure activities: a qualitative analysis

Andrew Denovan, Ann Macaskill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Stress is prevalent in modern society and coping strategies largely determine well-being. A qualitative investigation of leisure as a positive coping response to stress was undertaken using a resilience-based perspective. This approach enabled a focus on competencies and strengths in the stress-leisure-coping process, contributing to the sparse literature in this area. In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of eight participants. From a thematic analysis three overall themes emerged: leisure as a buffer of stress, the relationship between negative and positive emotions and leisure, and benefits of leisure for coping with stress. The findings demonstrate how leisure facilitates a sense of resilience and its preventative functions. The results are discussed in relation to relevant theoretical propositions concerning the role of positive emotion in coping. In particular, the broaden-and-build theory provided a meaningful framework for suggesting how leisure and positive emotions acted in tandem to develop psychosocial resources over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-466
Number of pages21
JournalAnnals of Leisure Research
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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