In “Constraints to Leisure,” Edgar L. Jackson and David Scott provide an overview of the field of leisure constraints research as of the late 1990s. They point out that originally researchers in the field studies what was then called “barriers to recreation participation,” but the word “barriers” refers to what is now considered only one type of constraint – something that intervenes or prevents one from participating in an activity. But now other kinds of constraints are recognized, including one’s interpersonal and intrapersonal influences, which lead one not to take part in leisure. In additional, Jackson and Scott explain that the word “leisure” is used rather than just recreation, since it is a more inclusive term, and the word “participation” was also dropped, since leisure research doesn’t only involve whether a persona participates, but what they prefer to do, where, and what a particular type of leisure means to them.
Jackson and Scott also discuss the three major ways of looking at leisure that have evolved since the leisure constraints approach began in the 19th century. It began with considerations of “barriers to recreation participation and leisure enjoyment” based on the assumption that the main issue to address was service delivery, so that people would participate more if there were more services provided.
Then, starting in the 1960s, the focus shifted to looking at how particular barriers might affect the participation by individuals with different economic and social characteristics. Later, in the 1980s, the notion of constraints emerged, and the researchers realized that these constraints might not only be external, such as in the form of a facility or service, but could be internal, such as a constraint due to psychological and economic factors, or to social or interpersonal factors, such as a person’s relationships with his or her spouse or family.
Since the late 1980s, it would seem that three major concepts about the constraints affecting involvement in leisure activities have emerged, as described in a model proposed by Crawford and Godbey in 1987.
1) The structural or intervening constraint is one which affects someone from participating in some type of leisure, once the person already has indicated a preference for or desire to participate. As conceptualized by Crawford and Godbey, these structural or intervening constraints are “those factors that intervene between leisure preference and participation.” (p. 307). Research based on this conception of a constraint generally involves doing a survey to identify the particular items standing in the way of participation, such as time, costs, facilities, knowledge of the service or facility, lack of a partner for participation (such as a partner to participate in a doubles tennis match), and a lack of skills or a disability. The assumption underlying this approach is that a person would participate in any activity if not for these constraints, which seem much like the barriers conceived of when that term was in use. In looking for patterns and commonalities, using various quantitative methods such as factor analysis and cluster analysis, researchers …