Individual Motivation and Parental Influence on Adolescents’ Experiences of Interest in Free Time: A Longitudinal Examination
Time spent in freely chosen leisure activities offers a distinct developmental context that can support positive youth development; however this potential for growth depends in part on adolescent interest and engagement in their free time activities. Research indicates that many adolescents report experiencing boredom, instead of interest, in their free time. This study utilized longitudinal data from 354 rural middle school students to investigate how parenting practices and adolescent motivational styles influence adolescents’ experience of interest in their free time. Findings indicated that adolescent self-regulated motivation and parental knowledge related to the free time context were positively associated with experiences of interest, while adolescent amotivation and parental control were negatively associated with interest in free time. The effect of parental knowledge and parental control on adolescents’ experiences of interest was mediated by adolescent motivational styles. These results were similar across grade level and gender. Implications for interventions promoting positive youth development are discussed.