Viewing Leisure as Wasteful Undermines Enjoyment

Tonietto, Gabriela N., Selin A. Malkoc, Rebecca Walker Reczek, and Michael I. Norton (2021). “Viewing Leisure as Wasteful Undermines Enjoyment.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104198.

13 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2021

See all articles by Gabriela Tonietto

Gabriela Tonietto

Rugers Business School

Selin A. Malkoc

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

Rebecca Walker Reczek

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics

Michael I. Norton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

Date Written: August 24, 2021

Abstract

Engagement in leisure offers a host of benefits for mental and physical health, yet many people view leisure as wasteful and unproductive. Four studies (n = 1310) demonstrate that believing leisure is wasteful undermines enjoyment of enacted leisure activities. Studies 1 and 2 document that people with a general tendency to find leisure wasteful report lower enjoyment of leisure activities on average, especially terminally-motivated leisure (performed as an end in itself) compared to instrumentally-motivated leisure (performed as a means to an end). The belief that leisure is wasteful is also associated with poorer mental health outcomes, including lower reported happiness, and greater reported depression, anxiety, and stress. Establishing causality, Studies 3 and 4 show that priming the belief that leisure is wasteful or unproductive reduces enjoyment of terminally-motivated leisure activities; unfortunately, priming the belief that leisure is productive does not increase enjoyment. We discuss implications for maximizing hedonic utility and well-being.

Keywords: leisure, experiences, enjoyment, well-being

Suggested Citation

Tonietto, Gabriela and Malkoc, Selin A. and Reczek, Rebecca Walker and Norton, Michael I., Viewing Leisure as Wasteful Undermines Enjoyment (August 24, 2021). Tonietto, Gabriela N., Selin A. Malkoc, Rebecca Walker Reczek, and Michael I. Norton (2021). “Viewing Leisure as Wasteful Undermines Enjoyment.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104198. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3910495

Gabriela Tonietto (Contact Author)

Rugers Business School ( email )

The State University of New Jersey
1 Washington Park
Newark, NJ 07102-3122
United States

Selin A. Malkoc

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://fisher.osu.edu/people/malkoc.5

Rebecca Walker Reczek

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
538 Fisher Hall
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Michael I. Norton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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