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Understanding Older Adults' Leisure Behaviors in Mexico Open Access


Other title
Older Adults
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Reyes Uribe, Ana C.
Supervisor and department
Fast, Janet (Human Ecology)
Examining committee member and department
Fast, Janet (Human Ecology)
Hutchinson, Susan (Health)
Walker, Gordon (Physical Education)
Fox, Karen (Physical Education)
Keating, Norah (Human Ecology)
Department of Human Ecology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
A key question in health promotion is how to predict and modify the adoption and maintenance of health enhancing behaviors such as leisure. Health promotion approaches that focus on promoting health-enhancing behaviors give particular attention to individuals’ motivation and self-determination to choose their health behaviors. Motivation and self-determination aspects go in a parallel direction with leisure research, because these two aspects are the two most relevant preconditions of leisure engagement. In Mexico, the context of interest in this study, there is little knowledge about older adults’ leisure behaviors. This research has focused on understanding why older adults do what they do in their leisure time. The purpose was to understand the process behind older adults’ leisure motivations and their leisure preferences. A conceptual framework named “the motivational process for leisure behaviors” was used. The conceptual framework that guided this work is a modification of Self-Determination theory (SDT). The elements from SDT are: motivational orientations, psychological needs, and social environments. This framework is a modification of SDT because of the addition of two elements: places and socio-demographic characteristics. An interpretative case study was used. In-depth interviews were conducted with six men and 12 women participants (60 years or older) living in the second largest city of Mexico: Guadalajara. Theoretical coding was used for analyzing the data. Findings were synthesized into five core themes: (1) the majority of older adults is self-determined and engage over the long term in leisure activities; (2) the fulfillment of psychological needs is not always a precondition for leisure engagement; (3) engagement in outdoors leisure is constrained by the functionality of the place; (4) gender inequality and gender roles affect women’s motivation for their leisure engagement; and, (5) traditional ways of conceptualizing the need for relatedness and the need for competence need to be re-considered. Overall, the conceptual framework proposed was useful for understanding the motivational process of older adults in their leisure behaviors. All motivational orientations were preceded by one or more of the other concepts proposed. It was also established that some of these concepts were interrelated. Several practical implications were also discussed.
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File title: It might be relevant then to get answers about why, where, and with whom older adults prefer to spend their leisure time
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