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Open Access Thesis


Leisure--China; College students--China--Attitudes; College students--China--Psychology; College students--Attitudes; College students--Psychology; Leisure; China; Academic theses;


China has witnessed tremendous social transformation in the last three decades due to the introduction of the "open door" policy and economic reforms in the late 1970s, which has resulted in great changes in Chinese culture and identity considerations. University students, as one of the most energetic and creative groups of individuals in the society, are playing and will play an important role in leading leisure lifestyles in China in the future. The purpose of this study was to examine the understanding of leisure (xiuxian in Chinese), leisure patterns, and constraints among university students in China.

Undergraduate students (N = 321) from Zhejiang University, located in southeast coast of China, participated in the research in June 2009. Descriptive statistics, Independent-Samples t Test, and ANOVA were adopted to analyze the data collected. Differences in terms of gender, age, grade, and academic field in leisure participation and constraint were also examined.

Most university students (93.5%) believed that leisure was either important or very important. Rest/relaxation, activity, and enjoyment were reported as three most frequently cited definitions for leisure for both males and females. Generally, Chinese students were involved in more passive activities during their spare time. The top five of their most frequently participated in leisure activities included phone calls/short messages to friends, listening to music, watching TV, reading, and using a personal computer. In contrast, in answering the question about activities that students had not tried before but would like to, outdoor activities, such as horseback riding and camping, were scored the highest. Further, results showed that students experienced the greatest constraints from lack of time and money. T-test and ANO VA results revealed significant differences (p < .05) in leisure patterns and constraints in accordance with gender, grade, age, and academic field. The research implied that Chinese university students' view of leisure was not comprehensive, though they had realized the importance of leisure. To them, leisure was most often regarded as activities in which they participated after work or study hours to relax and gain enjoyment. It was suggested that Chinese universities should give students more proper instructions on the importance of leisure and appropriate leisure participation. Further studies on leisure constraints, especially intrapersonal and interpersonal constraints, and the effects of leisure on university students' identity development were recommended in Chinese settings.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Oksana Grybovych

Second Advisor

Samuel V. Lankford

Third Advisor

Sue A. Joseph


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Date Original


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