Stress, resilience and leisure coping among university students: applying the broaden-and-build theory

Andrew Denovan, Ann Macaskill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence suggests that leisure coping is affiliated with resilience, and that both predict stress-coping and well-being. However, a theoretical explanation of how resilience is associated with the stress-reducing properties of leisure coping is lacking. Using the broaden-and-build theory, a model was developed proposing that resilient individuals proactively use leisure coping to cultivate positive emotions and in turn enhance well-being. Leisure coping and positive affect (PA) were suggested to mediate the relationship between resilience and well-being outcomes (stress and flourishing). The model was tested among 202 U.K undergraduates, a population reported to experience high stress. Structural equation modelling revealed that resilience had a significant positive effect on flourishing. Leisure coping beliefs demonstrated a positive relationship with resilience, PA and flourishing. PA mediated the relationship between resilience and flourishing and between resilience and stress. Leisure coping strategies did not meaningfully contribute to the model. Leisure beliefs may have emerged as more important than leisure strategies because leisure beliefs are relatively stable with more enduring effects on health and well-being, while leisure strategies are transient and situation-based. Future research should examine the relationships longitudinally to explore developmental change. Implications of the findings for undergraduates are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-865
Number of pages14
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number6
Early online date3 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


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