Nav: Home

Pleasant family leisure at home may satisfy families more than fun together elsewhere

October 05, 2016

While family fun often is associated with new and exciting activities, family leisure spent at home in familiar pastimes may be a better route to happiness, according to a Baylor University study.

"That may be because when the brain is focused on processing new information -- such as taking part in an unfamiliar activity with unfamiliar people in a new location -- less 'brain power' is available to focus on the family relationships," said lead author Karen K. Melton, Ph.D., assistant professor of child and family studies in Baylor's Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.

While research results suggest that all quality time together contributes to satisfaction with family life, "all family leisure is not equal," she said. "The best predictor of happiness for families may be spending quality time together in familiar activities inside the home. And that's great news for families who have little time or few resources."

The study -- "In the Pursuit of Happiness All Family Leisure is Not Equal" -- is published in World Leisure Journal.

For the study, researchers used a sample of 1,502 individuals in 884 families in the United Kingdom. Each family unit taking part in the online research had at least one child between the ages of 11 and 15. Participants answered questions about whether they took part in family leisure in the past year, and if so, what activities (from 16 categories) they did, how much time they spent doing them and how frequently they did so.

Melton said that the catchy expression "The family that plays together, stays together!" carries two misconceptions: that all family leisure brings positive results and that all family activities are equal.

"Family members also can express stress and conflict as well as pleasure during leisure time," she said. "The activities alone will not heal the scars of hurting families."

Melton noted that some studies support the idea that eating together is one of the best predictors of functioning families, while watching TV is seen as ineffective for individual happiness or family function. But families should question one-size-fits-all notions.

"For some families, quality togetherness is having dinner together or playing games; for others, it may be hobbies, videos or TV, music," Melton said. "At the end of the day, what matters is that we are social beings who crave a sense of belonging and connectivity."
-end-
*Co-researcher was Ramon B. Zabriskie, Ph.D., professor of recreation management at Brigham Young University.

Baylor University

Related Happiness Articles:

Braces won't always bring happiness
Research undertaken at the University of Adelaide overturns the belief that turning your crooked teeth into a beautiful smile will automatically boost your self-confidence.
In China, a link between happiness and air quality
In a paper published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, a research team led by Siqi Zheng, the Samuel Tak Lee Associate Professor in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Center for Real Estate, and the Faculty Director of MIT China Future City Lab, reveals that higher levels of pollution are associated with a decrease in people's happiness levels.
The 17 different ways your face conveys happiness
Human beings can configure their faces in thousands and thousands of ways to convey emotion, but only 35 expressions actually get the job done across cultures, a new study has found.
Explaining happiness
It is widely believed that each person finds the source of happiness within themselves and nowhere else.
Making happiness last longer
The happiness derived from a purchase may last longer for those who set broader goals for the experience.
Why economic growth does not necessarily contribute to human happiness
Economic growth in developed countries has a dual effect. On one hand, people's living standards and consumer spending are on the rise, but on the other hand, this does not necessarily make people happy and may in fact erode subjective well-being and lead to economic crises.
Can pursuing happiness make you unhappy?
Researchers have found that people who pursue happiness often feel like they do not have enough time in the day, and this paradoxically makes them feel unhappy.
Money only buys happiness for a certain amount
There is an optimal point to how much money it takes to make an individual happy, and that amount varies worldwide, according to research from Purdue University.
Couple up for long-term happiness
Being married has a lifelong effect on how content people are.
How much people earn is associated with how they experience happiness
People who earn more money tend to experience more positive emotions focused on themselves, while people who earn less take greater pleasure in their relationships and ability to connect with others, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
More Happiness News and Happiness Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab