The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between serious leisure characteristics and subjective well-being as well as clarify the moderating effect of spousal support in their relationships. A total of 264 valid questionnaires were collected from a sample of older adult volunteers in Taiwan. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate a model linking serious leisure, spousal support to subjective wellbeing. As expected, the results show that older adult volunteers having greater serious leisure characteristics lead to a high level of subjective well-being. The findings further revealed that spousal support moderated the effect of serious leisure characteristics on subjective well-being. This indicates that the higher the level of spousal support, the larger is the likelihood that serious leisure will lead to greater subjective well-being. The results are suggested to be useful references for the older adult volunteers while improving spousal support, in order to increase the level of well-being.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Arai, S. M. (2004). Volunteering in the Canadian context: Identity, civic participation and the politics of participation in serious leisure. In R. A. Stebbins, St M. Graham (Eds.), Volunteering as leisure. Leisure as volunteering: An international assessment. (pp. 151–176) Cambridge, MA: CABI,
Aviund, K., Lund, R., Holstein, B., Due, P., Sakan-Rantala, R., & Heikkinen, R. (2004). The impact of structural and functional characteristics of social relations as determinants of functional decline. Journals of Gerontology, 59(1), 44–51.
Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation for structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16(1), 74–94.
Barrell, G., Chamberlain, A., Evans, J., Holt, T., & MacKean, J. (1989). Ideology and commitment in family life: A case study of runners. Leisure Studies, 8(3), 249–262.
Bouchard, C., Shephard, R. J., & Stephens, T. (1994). Physical activity, fitness and health: International proceedings and consensus statement. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Burke, R. J., & Weir, T. (1982). Husband-wife helping relationships as moderator of experienced stress: The “mental hygiene” function in marriage. In H. I. McCubbin, A. E. Cauble, & J. M. Patterson (Eds.), Family Stress, Coping, and Social Support (pp. 221–238). Springfield, II: Charles C. Thomas.
Chambre, S. M. (1987). Good deeds in old age: Volunteering by the new leisure class. Lexington: Lexington Books.
Cheng, T. M., & Tsaur, S. H. (2012). The relationship between serious leisure characteristics and recreation involvement: A case study of Taiwan’s surfing activities. Leisure Studies, 31(1), 53–68.
Coleman, D., & Iso-Ahola, S. E. (1993). Leisure and health: The role of social support and self-determination. Journal of Leisure Research, 25(2), 111–128.
Courneya, K. S., & Hellsten, L. A. M. (1998). Personality correlates of exercise behavior, motives, barriers & preferences: an application of five-factor model. Personality and Individual Differences, 24(5), 625–633.
Craike, M., & Coleman, D. (2005). Buffering effects of leisure self-determination on the mental health of older adults. Leisure/Loisir, 29(2), 301–328.
Diener, E., & Emmons, R. A. (1985). The independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47(5), 1105–1117.
Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71–75.
Fernandez, J. (1986). Child care and corporate productivity: Resolving family/work conflicts. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
Fischer, L. R., & Schaffer, K. B. (1993). Older volunteers: A guide to research and practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39–50.
Gibson, H., Ashton-Schaeffer, C., Green, J., & Autry, C. (2003/2004). Leisure in the lives of retirement- aged women: Conversations about leisure and life. Leisure/Loisir, 28, 203-230.
Gill, Z. (2006). Older people and volunteering. Adelaide: Office for Volunteers, Government of South Australia.
Goff, S. J., Fick, D. S., & Oppliger, R. A. (1997). The moderating effect of spouse support on the relation between serious leisure and spouses’ perceived Leisure-Family Conflict. Journal of Leisure Research, 29(1), 47–60.
Goff, S. J., Mount, M. K., & Jamison, R. L. (1990). Employer supported child care, work/family conflict, and absenteeism: A field study. Personnel Psychology, 43(4), 793–809.
Gordon, P. M., Heath, G. W., Holmes, A., & Christy, D. (2000). The quantity and quality of physical activity among those trying to lose weight. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 18(1), 83–86.
Gould, J., Moore, D., McGuire, F., & Stebbins, R. (2008). Development of the serious leisure inventory and measure. Journal of Leisure Research, 40(1), 47–68.
Guinn, B. (1999). Leisure behavior motivation and the life satisfaction of retired persons. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 23(4), 13–20.
Hair, J. F, Jr, Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis (5th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice-Hall International.
Hassmen, P., Koivula, N., & Uutela, A. (2000). Physical exercise and psychological well-being: a population study in Finland. Preventative Medicine, 30(1), 17–25.
Haworth, J. T. (1986). Meaningful activity and psychological models of non-employment. Leisure Studies, 5(3), 281–297.
Heo, J., Lee, Y., McCormick, B. P., & Pedersen, P. M. (2010). Daily experience of serious leisure, flow and subjective well-being of older adults. Leisure Studies, 29(2), 207–225.
Holman, T. B., & Epperson, A. (1984). Family and leisure: A review of the literature with research recommendations. Journal of Leisure Research, 16(4), 277–294.
Iwasaki, Y., & Mannell, R. C. (2000). Hierarchical dimensions of leisure stress coping. Leisure Sciences, 22(3), 163–181.
Iwasaki, Y., & Smale, B. (1998). Longitudinal analyses of the relationships among life transitions, chronic health problems, leisure, and psychological well-being. Leisure Sciences, 20(1), 25–52.
Janke, M., Davey, A., & Kleiber, D. (2006). Modeling change in older adults’ leisure activities. Leisure Sciences, 28(3), 285–303.
Kane, M. J., & Zink, R. (2004). Package adventure tours: markers in serious leisure careers. Leisure Studies, 23(4), 329–345.
Kelly, J. R., & Kelly, J. R. (1994). Multiple dimensions of leaning in the domains of work, family, and leisure. Journal of Leisure Research, 26(3), 250–274.
Lawton, M. P. (1994). Personality and affective correlated of leisure activity participation by older people. Journal of Leisure Research, 26(2), 138–157.
Li, Y., & Ferraro, K. E. (2005). Volunteering and depression in later life: Social benefit or selection processes? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46(1), 68–84.
Lu, L., & Hu, C. H. (2005). Personality, leisure experiences and happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 325–342.
Lum, T. Y., & Lightfoot, E. (2005). The effects of volunteering on the physical and mental health of older people. Research on Aging, 27(1), 31–56.
Major, W. F. (2001). The benefits and costs of serious running. World Leisure Journal, 43(2), 12–25.
Mannell, R. C. (1993). High investment activity and life satisfaction among older adults: Committed, serious leisure, and flow activities. In J. R. Kelly (Ed.), Activity and aging (pp. 125–145). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Menee, V. (2003). The relation between everyday activities and successful aging: A 6-year longitudinal study. Journal of Gerontology, 58(2), 74–82.
Musick, M., & Wilson, J. (2003). Volunteering and depression: The role of psychological and social resources in different age groups. Social Science and Medicine, 56(2), 259–269.
Mutchler, J. E., Burr, J. A., & Caro, E. G. (2003). From paid worker to volunteer: Leaving the paid workforce and volunteering in later life. Social Forces, 81(4), 1267–1293.
Nimrod, G. (2007a). Retirees’ leisure: Activities, benefits, and their contribution to life satisfaction. Leisure Studies, 26(1), 65–80.
Nimrod, G. (2007b). Expanding, reducing, concentrating and diffusing: Post retirement leisure behavior and life satisfaction. Leisure Sciences, 29(1), 91–111.
Onyx, J., & Warburton, J. (2003). Volunteering and health among older people. Australasian Journal on Aging, 22(2), 65–69.
Orthner, K. S., & Mancini, J. A. (1990). Leisure impacts on family interaction and cohesion. Journal of Leisure Research, 22(2), 125–137.
Orthner, D. K., & Moncini, J. A. (1991). Benefits of leisure for family bonding. In B. L. Driver, P. J. Brown, & G. L. Peterson (Eds.), Benefits of leisure (pp. 289–301). State College, PA: Venture.
Palmore, E. (1979). Predictors of successful aging. The Gerontologist, 19(5), 427–431.
Price, S. (2007). Volunteering in the third age final report: Findings and conclusions from the VÍTA programme and looking to the future of older volunteering. Abingdon, UK: Volunteering in the Third Ag.
Resnick, B. (2000). Functional performance and exercise of older adults in long-term care settings. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 26(3), 7–16.
Roadburg, A. (1985). Aging: Retirement, leisure and work in Canada. Toronto, ON: Methuen.
Robertson, D. (2005). Leisure and learning: An investigation of older adults and self-directed learning. Leisure/Loisir, 29(2), 203–237.
Rochester, C., & Hutchison, R. (2002). A review of the home office older volunteer initiative. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.
Russell, R. V. (1987). The importance of recreation satisfaction and activity participation to the life satisfaction of age-segregated retirees. Journal of Leisure Research, 19(4), 273–283.
Ruuskanen, J. M., & Ruoppila, I. (1995). Physical activity and psychological well-being among people aged 65 to 84 years. Age and Ageing, 24(4), 292–296.
Silverstein, M., & Parker, M. (2002). Leisure activities and quality of life among the oldest older in Sweden. Research on Aging, 24(5), 528–547.
Stebbins, R. A. (1982). Serious leisure: A conceptual statement. Pacific Sociological Review, 25(2), 251–272.
Stebbins, R. A. (1992). Amateurs, professionals, and serious leisure. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Stebbins, R. A. (1996). Volunteering: A serious leisure perspective. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 25(2), 211–224.
Stebbins, R. A. (2000). The extraprofessional life: Leisure, retirement and unemployment. Current Sociology, 48(1), 1–18.
Stebbins, R. A. (2001). New directions in the theory and research of serious leisure. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
Stebbins, R. A. (2007). Serious leisure: A perspective for our time. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
Tsaur, S. H., & Liang, Y. W. (2008). Serious leisure and recreation specialization. Leisure Sciences, 30(4), 325–341.
Van Willigen, M. (2000). Differential benefits of volunteering across the life course. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 55(5), 308–318.
Veiel, H. O. F. (1987). Buffer effects and threshold effects: An alternative interpretation of nonlinearities in the relationship between social support, stress, and depression. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15(6), 717–740.
Warburton, J. (2006). Volunteering in later life: Is it good for your health? Voluntary Action, 8(2), 3–15.
Warburton, J., Terry, D., Rosenman, L., & Shapiro, M. (2001). Differences between older volunteers and non-volunteers: Attitudinal, normative, and control beliefs. Research on Aging, 23(5), 586–605.
Wethington, E., & Kessler, R. C. (1986). Perceived support, received support, and adjustment to stressful life events. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 27(1), 78–89.
Yoo, B. (2002). Cross-group comparisons: A cautionary note. Psychology and Marketing, 19(4), 357–368.
Appendix: Dimensions and measurement items of serious leisure characteristics
Appendix: Dimensions and measurement items of serious leisure characteristics
Perseverance (three items)
Taking part in volunteering even though I am busy.
Taking part in volunteering even though I feel tired.
Taking part in volunteering even though I feel depressed.
Have careers in their endeavors (three items)
Volunteering is an important part of my lifestyle.
If there is no volunteering in my life, I will feel bored.
I will take part in volunteering on a long-term basis.
Significant personal effort (three items)
I devote considerable effort and time to taking part in volunteering.
In order to enhance my expertise in volunteering, I would like to put money and time into training related to volunteering.
In order to enhance the expertise in volunteering, I would like to spend money purchasing books and tapes related to interpretation.
Durable individual benefits (six items)
Volunteering allows me to achieve self-actualization.
Volunteering allows me to achieve self-expression.
Volunteering allows me to achieve feelings of accomplishment.
Volunteering allows me to achieve self-enrichment.
Volunteering allows me to make friends with other interpretive volunteers.
Volunteering can increase my physical strength.
Unique ethos (three items)
For getting along with other members of the volunteering fraternity on a long-term basis, we develop common beliefs, values, and norms.
I will get together with members of the volunteering fraternity privately for volunteering or other activities.
When I get together with members of the volunteering fraternity privately, I can speak out freely.
Identify strongly with the activity (three items)
In my opinion, few other leisure activities can replace volunteering.
I like to watch television programs related to interpretive volunteers in daily lives.
I like to share interesting events about volunteering with other persons.
About this article
Cite this article
Chen, KY. The Relationship Between Serious Leisure Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being of Older Adult Volunteers: The Moderating Effect of Spousal Support. Soc Indic Res 119, 197–210 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-013-0496-3
- Serious leisure
- Spousal support
- Subjective well-being
- Older adult volunteers