Date of Award

August 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Brent Hawkins

Committee Member

Jasmine Townsend

Committee Member

Stephen Lewis

Committee Member

James Byrne


The 2016 Surgeon General’s report on alcohol, drugs and health indicated that approximately 25 million Americans living in recovery from SUDs (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). However, establishing stable recovery from SUDs is a complex psychosocial process of change that can take many years to achieve (Laudet, 2007; Neale et al., 2014).Treatment remains an effective means of helping individuals with SUDs establish recovery and build the recovery capital they need to sustain remission. Recovery capital is the total of an individual’s resources used to establish and maintain remission from SUD (Cloud & Granfield, 2008). Recovery capital may be built through connections made through various avenues including leisure (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Treatment staff have a central role in helping individuals in early recovery develop recovery capital and engage in recovery-oriented programs. Staff are well positioned to help residents negotiate various constraints to healthy leisure. However, there is no research on how staff attitudes toward leisure may influence programming decisions or leisure participation among individuals in early recovery. Accordingly, this sequential multi-phase mixed methods case study (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2018) explored leisure meaning among staff and residents at community residences for individuals in early recovery from SUDs to understand how leisure meaning among staff and residents shape leisure access, and leisure constraints in the program. Results indicated that staff and resident leisure meaning has a significant influence on residents’ leisure access during their early recovery from SUDs. This study’s results indicated that while both staff and residents value leisure in their lives and as part of the recovery process, the two groups have significantly divergent views on what this leisure should look like and how it should play a role in residence programming. Based on the findings of this study, several suggestions were made for the adoption of more person-centered leisure programming approaches in community residences, greater involvement of residents in leisure programming decisions, additional training of community residence staff vis-à-vis leisure and its importance within the residential programs, and the need for additional recreation therapy services in the community residences.



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