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Zhu -

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Applied Psychology Health Well-Being





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Working adults spend most of their leisure time watching TV. In this paper, we seek to clarify how experiences of psychological need fulfillment and well-being differ when watching TV and engaging in other leisure activities. We suggest that, compared to other leisure activities, watching TV is equally conducive to fulfilling needs for: (a) relaxation and detachment from stress and (b) autonomy, but is less conducive to fulfilling needs for (c) meaning, (d) mastery, and (e) affiliation and thus also less conducive to promoting subjective wellbeing.


We tested our predictions in two day reconstruction studies and a daily diary study.


People experienced similar levels of detachment and relaxation when watching TV and engaging in other types of leisure. However, they experienced less fulfillment of other needs, and lower levels of satisfaction and some aspects of affective well-being, when watching TV compared to other activities. Further, unlike time spent watching TV, daily time spent in physical activities was positively associated with positive activated affect.


Given that watching TV tends to be associated with lower levels of need fulfillment and well-being than other leisure activities, leisure choices may be an important target for improving employee well-being.


"This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Leisure Choices and Employee Well-Being: Comparing Need Fulfillment and Well-Being during TV and Other Leisure Activities. Appl Psychol Health Well-Being, 12, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited."

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