The importance of leisure and the psychological mechanisms involved in living a good life: A content analysis of best-possible-selves texts

Paula M. Loveday, Geoff P. Lovell, Christian M. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explored the psychological mechanisms by which leisure enhances well-being by using sentence-by-sentence coding of the best-possible-selves text produced by 112 participants. Of the 1097 sentences, 41% were coded as leisure indicating that leisure is an important component of optimal well-being. The data showed that Australians have significantly less leisure in their daily lives than our sample desired; older and wealthier individuals placed a greater emphasis on leisure but there were no significant differences based on gender. Application of the Detachment-Recovery, Autonomy, Mastery, Meaning, Affiliation (DRAMMA) framework showed the following allocation of sentences to psychological mechanisms: Detachment-Recovery-21%, Autonomy-23%, Mastery-12%, Meaning-11% and Affiliation-33%. In their ideal future, participants imagined that they have the time and money to do what they want, particularly, to travel. We showed leisure is not solely associated with ‘having fun’; 59% of participants wanted to use their leisure time to learn, improve, or contribute to society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Leisure
  • affiliation
  • autonomy
  • best possible self
  • detachment-recovery
  • mastery
  • meaning
  • social interaction
  • well-being
  • writing

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