Author ORCID Identifier
Applied Psychology Health Well-Being
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.
Kuykendall, L., Lei, X., Zhu, Z. and Hu, X. (2020), Leisure Choices and Employee Well-Being: Comparing Need Fulfillment and Well-Being during TV and Other Leisure Activities. Appl Psychol Health Well-Being, 12: 532-558. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12196