The Effects of Depression on Leisure: Varying Relationships Between Enjoyment, Sociability, Participation, and Desired Outcomes in College Studentsby Joel A. Blanco, Lynn A. Barnett

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The Effects of Depression on Leisure:

Varying Relationships Between

Enjoyment, Sociability, Participation, and Desired Outcomes in College

Students

Joel A. Blancoa & Lynn A. Barnetta a Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA

Published online: 01 Oct 2014.

To cite this article: Joel A. Blanco & Lynn A. Barnett (2014) The Effects of Depression on

Leisure: Varying Relationships Between Enjoyment, Sociability, Participation, and Desired

Outcomes in College Students, Leisure Sciences: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 36:5, 458-478, DOI: 10.1080/01490400.2014.915772

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01490400.2014.915772

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Leisure Sciences, 36: 458–478, 2014

Copyright C© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

ISSN: 0149-0400 print / 1521-0588 online

DOI: 10.1080/01490400.2014.915772

The Effects of Depression on Leisure: Varying

Relationships Between Enjoyment, Sociability,

Participation, and Desired Outcomes in College Students

JOEL A. BLANCO

LYNN A. BARNETT

Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL, USA

Depression leads to negative mood and affect, difficulty experiencing enjoyment in chosen activities (anhedonia), and a reduced desire for social interaction. This study compared 974 college students with different levels of depression (minimal, mild, and moderate to severe) relative to their desired outcomes for leisure, and their enjoyment of, participation and sociability in, different types of chosen leisure activities. Findings indicated consistency in their desired outcomes students, yet there were differences in how social they chose to be, the extent to which they partook, and how much enjoyment they perceived during their leisure participation. In addition, in several activities only a mild state of depression was sufficient to produce differences in leisure involvement.

The results question whether depressed individuals experience “leisure” in the same manner as nondepressed individuals and whether elements of “leisure” experiences stressing enjoyment and sociability are applicable for individuals with differing levels of nonclinical depression.

Keywords leisure participation, psychological well-being, social environment

Depression and Anhedonia

The prevalence of depression among adults in the United States has been increasing, and it is currently estimated that more than 9% of the population meet the criteria (National

Institute of Mental Health, 2012). Individuals are considered to have major depression if, for more than half of the preceding two weeks, they met at least five of the major benchmarks, including a consistently low mood accompanied by negative affect (“feeling down, depressed, or hopeless”) (Garnefski, Legerstee, Kraaij, van den Kommer, & Teerds, 2002), lethargy with a general lack of motivation (Treadway, Bossaller, Shelton, & Zald, 2012), and “little interest or pleasure in doing things” (de Wit, Fokkema, van Straten,

Lamers, Cuijpers, & Penninx, 2010). This last criterion, termed “anhedonia,” is one that most typically accompanies all levels of depression and is pervasive across age groups (Sheldell, Waugh, & Gotlib, 2012). As the severity of depression increases, there is a

Received 6 May 2013; accepted 8 April 2014.

Address correspondence to Joel A. Blanco, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 104 Huff Hall, 1206 S. Fourth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. E-mail: blanco5@illinois.edu 458

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Effects of Depression on Leisure 459 corresponding decrease in the ability to experience pleasure, particularly that resulting from positive physical and sensory stimuli (Shankman, Nelson, Harrow, & Faull, 2010).

Many individuals with depression will also frequently experience a more specific type of anhedonia known as “social anhedonia.” This type of anhedonia is characterized by the avoidance of social situations; individuals who experience social anhedonia generally exhibit an indifference towards others and experience little or no enjoyment and display a flat affect when engaged in social situations (Blanchard, Gangestad, Brown, & Horan, 2000).