Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

McGuire, Francis A

Committee Member

Igo , Brent

Committee Member

Brookover , Robert S

Committee Member

Norman , William C


This study followed the grounded theory design of Strauss and Corbin (1990, 1998) in order to generate a theoretical model that describes, explains, and predicts the dynamic nature of constraints to leisure experienced by adults who had been previously constrained from learning to swim but were successful in coping with constraints. Theoretical and convenience sampling techniques yielded a final sample size of 28, with 23 participants being female and five males. All participants in the study stated he or she was interested in learning to swim earlier in life, but were constrained, and were, at the time of the study, participating in swimming lessons. Data was gathered through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Data collection and analysis was simultaneous, following systematic grounded theory procedures including open, axial, and selective coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, 1998). The grounded theory model for constraints to leisure and successful coping process is presented. At the most abstract level, this model includes: 1) causal conditions and contexts of the phenomenon, 2) the phenomenon itself, 3) intervening condition, 4) coping process, and 5) the outcome. Participants attributed five types of causal conditions and contexts serving as constraints to leisure, including: 1) socialization, 2) psychological conditions, 3) life responsibilities, 4) limited resources, and 5) physical limitations. When causal conditions and contexts are present, the phenomenon of leisure being constrained occurs. Leisure can be constrained in three ways: 1) enjoyment can be decreased while participating in the activity, 2) there is no participation in the activity, or 3) the individual may still participate, but in a limited or modified manner. An intervening condition was present for all study participants leading to the initiation of the process of coping with constraints to leisure. The intervening condition was a catalyzing life experience. Catalyzing life experiences were grouped into the following categories: 1) not being able to swim acting as a constraint, 2) social pressure, 3) self-efficacy improvement through vicarious experience, and 4) life reflection. Once the catalyzing life experience had occurred, participants then initiated the process of coping with constraints to leisure. The process of coping with constraints to leisure involves three steps: 1) motivation to participate in activity is increased, 2) participation in the activity is made a priority, and 3) constraints to leisure are negotiated. Constraints to leisure were negotiated in the following ways: 1) logistically, 2) with social support, 3) cognitively, 4) by increasing feelings of security, and 5) economically. The outcome of coping with constraints to leisure was participating in swimming lessons and swimming for leisure. In addition, participants described positive mental and physical outcomes associated with coping with constraints to leisure and participating in swimming.



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