Psychological Benefits of the “Maker” or Do-It-Yourself Movement in Young Adults: A Pathway Towards Subjective Well-Being

Abstract

Over the past several decades, increasing numbers of people have become involved in the do-it-yourself (DIY) or “Maker” movement, i.e., creating a wide range of products from home improvement to self-service to crafts. Little is known about the psychological benefits of these actions; there is an assumption that involvement ultimately increases quality of life. We surveyed 465 college students to describe their participation in a variety of Maker undertakings ranging from domestic arts, arts and crafts, to DIY activities, and examined four potential mediators of the relationship between a Maker identity and SWB. We inquired about the time spent engaged in the activities, reasons for involvement, as well as the immediate and long-term benefits received from Making. We found that college students spent approximately 3 h a week involved in Maker activities and that they most often engaged in domestic arts (e.g., cooking, baking, and gardening). The most important reasons provided for involvement in Maker activities were mood-repair, socializing with friends, and the ability to “stay present-focused.” Having a Maker identity was associated with subjective well-being (SWB), primarily explained by high arousal (i.e., exciting or stimulating) during Maker activities, but not positive mood. Trait rumination and reduced self-focus, or quiet ego, were also related to SWB and suggest the importance of reduced self-focus in understanding the relationship between Making and SWB. Taken together, it appears that Maker identity may be a potential pathway towards SWB.

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Correspondence to Ann Futterman Collier.

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Collier, A.F., Wayment, H.A. Psychological Benefits of the “Maker” or Do-It-Yourself Movement in Young Adults: A Pathway Towards Subjective Well-Being. J Happiness Stud 19, 1217–1239 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-017-9866-x

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Keywords

  • Do-it-yourself movement
  • Maker identity
  • Subjective well-being
  • Positive affect
  • High arousal mood
  • Rumination
  • Quiet ego