Volume 75, Issue 1 p. 15-32

Reducing latent deprivation during unemployment: The role of meaningful leisure activity

Lea E. Waters

Corresponding Author

Lea E. Waters

University of Melbourne, Australia

Department of Management, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, Australia (e-mail: [email protected]).Search for more papers by this author
Kathleen A. Moore

Kathleen A. Moore

Deakin University, Australia

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 16 December 2010
Citations: 91


The aim of this study was to investigate the role of meaningful leisure activity in reducing latent deprivation during unemployment. Samples of unemployed (N =201) and employed (N =128) participants were asked to rate their levels of latent deprivation using the Access to Categories of Experience Scale. They were also asked to complete the Profile of Mood States depression subscale, Adult Self-Perception Profile, Meaningful Leisure Activities Questionnaire, and to rate the frequency with which they engaged in social and solitary leisure activities. Results indicate that unemployed participants engaged in social leisure activities less frequently than employed participants and solitary leisure activities more frequently; and they reported higher perceived latent deprivation, higher depressive affect and lower self-esteem. Structural Equation Modelling revealed that a sense of latent deprivation contributed to depressive affect and reduced self-esteem in both unemployed and employed samples, although the impact of latent deprivation upon depressive affect and self-esteem was significantly greater in the unemployed sample. The meaning attained through social and solitary leisure activities acted to reduce perceived latent deprivation, and thus psychological distress, in unemployed participants. However, only social leisure activities had an impact upon latent deprivation and psychological health in the employed sample. Overall, these findings suggest that participation in leisure activities that are meaningful, rather than simply frequent, may be a constructive and readily achievable coping response during unemployment.