How leisure activities affect health: a narrative review and multi-level theoretical framework of mechanisms of action

The Lancet Psychiatry

Fecha de publicación: 1 de abril de 2021


Autores: Daisy Fancourt, PhD , Henry Aughterson, iBSc, Saoirse Finn, MSc, Emma Walker, MSc, Prof Andrew Steptoe, DSc

Background: There is a large and growing body of evidence on the health benefits of engagement in leisure activities (voluntary, enjoyable non-work activities, such as hobbies, arts, volunteering, community group membership, sports, and socialising). However, there is no unifying framework explaining how leisure activities affect health: what the mechanisms of action are by which engagement with leisure activities leads to the prevention, management, or treatment of mental and physical illness. In this Review, we identify and map over 600 mechanisms of action. These mechanisms can be categorised as psychological, biological, social, and behavioural processes that operate at individual (micro), group (meso), and societal (macro) levels, and are synthesised into a new theoretical framework: the Multi-level Leisure Mechanisms Framework.

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