Air Pollution as a Moderator in the Association Between Leisure Activities and Well-Being in Urban China

  • Po-Ju Chang
  • Rui Song
  • Yeqiang Lin
Research Paper


The positive effects of leisure in natural environments on well-being have been widely documented. However, people engaging in outdoor leisure activities in urban China may be exposed to severe air pollution. Air pollution is a global environmental concern. Therefore, investigating the moderating effects of air pollution on the relationship between leisure and well-being is important. In this study, the stress recovery and attention recovery theories were used to examine whether leisure in natural environments is preferable to other types of leisure activities in urban China considering the risk of exposure to air pollution. National survey and environmental data were used to investigate the associations among three types of leisure activities, namely home-based, indoor, and outdoor activities, and subjective well-being (SWB). The effect of air pollution and depression was also examined. The results indicate that indoor and outdoor leisure has a positive impact on SWB irrespective of air pollution exposure. The study participants from urban China may have become used to living with subpar levels of air quality and thus may be unable to perceive the negative influence of air pollution in their daily lives.


Air pollution Leisure activity Urban resident Subjective well-being Depression 



The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

This study was supported by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Horticulture and Landscape ArchitectureNational Taiwan UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Tourism Research CenterChinese Academy of Social ScienceBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Experience Industry ManagementCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

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