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1. Introduction

Leisure is crucial in young people's lives since, among other things, it is an area where they have more autonomy and control than in other areas of everyday life (Barber, Abbott, Blomfield & Eccles, 2009; Silbereisen & Todt, 1994). Through leisure, young people satisfy their needs--feeling free, discovering what they are interested in, perceiving changes and ultimately, having meaningful experiences-, which can all contribute to the positive development of identity and the necessary skills for the world of work (Barber et al., 2009; Coatsworth, Sharp, Palen, Darling, Cumsille & Marta, 2005; Codina, Pestana & Stebbins, 2017). There is a great deal of agreement among scholars that leisure is one of the activities that contributes most to the overall development of young people (Caldwell & Faulk, 2013, Freire, 2013, Kleiber, 1999). However, the contribution of leisure to personal development is not always positive, which is why leisure is said to be ambivalent. It can be conducive to either the most constructive or the most pathological outcomes (Csikszentmihayi, 1993, Munne & Codina, 1996). Leisure can therefore be either a positive or a negative influence on young people's development (Coatsworth et ai, 2005, Darling, 2005, Mahoney, Larson & Eccles, 2005).

In addition to certain practices that can potentially make leisure either constructive or pathological (for example--and respectively-, by engaging in reading or taking drugs), leisure practices can also be defined by their temporal intensity (and by whether they are engaged in or not). Although from the perspective of leisure there is no consensus on the optimal time to be dedicated to certain activities, from a psychological perspective, undertaking a varied range of activities is more advisable than engaging in a single leisure activity (Codina, Pestana, Castillo & Balaguer, 2016), as performing multiple leisure activities strengthens the overall development of the individual, in line with the proposals made by Kleiber (1999) and Linville (1987). The other element used to assess leisure as being either constructive or otherwise is made up of the personal assessments that an individual makes of the activity. Apart from motivation, there are two major components of the leisure experience: perception of freedom and satisfaction (among others: Codina, 1999, Csikszentmihayi, 1990, Cuenca, 2000; Gorbena & Martinez, 2006; Neulinger, 1980). Considering these aspects, for example, ten hours a day of profound enjoyment of a video game of choice, ten hours a day of great dissatisfaction with imposed physical activity, or ten hours of daily enjoyment watching Charlie Chaplin films, are psychosocially non-constructive leisure activities, that is, they induce vulnerabilities.

Without disregarding this potential ambivalence of leisure, one of the hobbies that is deemed to be more constructive in the development of young people is that of sports activity (sports or physical activity practised regularly: Broh, 2002, Zarret, Fay, Carrano, Phelps & Lerner, 2009). There are a considerable number of studies that show the physical, psychological and social benefits of these practices (Balaguer, 2002, World Health Organization, 2010, Ponce de Leon Elizondo, Sanz Arazuri & Valdemoros San Emeterio, 2015; Torregrosa, Belando & Moreno-Murcia, 2014). Numerous social interventions have also been carried out based on the promotion of sports activities as a strategy to prevent or overcome vulnerable situations (Haudenhuyse, Theeboom, & Nols, 2012). Without claiming to be exhaustive, there are some studies in support of these interventions that show that participation in sports activities organised by a club reduces the probability of subsequent social exclusion (Feinstein, Bynner & Duckworth, 2005), as these activities are attractive to young people from different social classes (Feinstein, et al., 2005; Vanhoutte, 2007).

These studies leave no doubt about the constructive potential of the physical and sports activity in itself, but certain behaviours around this activity may weaken its qualities and/or render them pathological. Regarding the time devoted to physical and sports activity throughout the week, the World Health Organisation (2010) recommends that adults over 18 years old should devote at least 150 minutes per week to moderate aerobic physical or sports activity (or 75 minutes if it is vigorous), whereas between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate physical or sports activity (or 150 minutes of intense activity) is considered to be optimal. While there are some young people who scarcely spend enough time performing physical and sports leisure activities to enjoy their benefits, others allocate to these activities a time bordering on the pathological. Consequently, the temporal issue may be indicative of a leisure practice that is vulnerable rather than healthy, and potentially pathological rather than constructive.

Physical and sports practice has a potentially positive or negative impact on the development of young people, depending both on the experience itself and on the time spent on it. This study assesses the relationship between the aspects involved in this practice and the temporal orientation of young people. This is a decisive aspect of life attitudes and of present and future behaviour (Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2004; Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999) and therefore, an essential variable for the scientific study of social vulnerability.

Several authors have investigated how the past, the present and the future are articulated in human behaviour (i.e., their past and its consequences: Nurmi, 1989, & Nuttin & Lens, 1985, among others). A particular concept, the Time Perspective (TP) by Zimbardo and Boyd (1999), has been gaining in prominence. Conceptually, the Time Perspective or orientation is considered by most authors to be a basic aspect of individual subjective experience (Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2004, p.8), and a fundamental psychological process (Luyckx, Lens, Smits & Goossens, 2010, p 243). Specifically, according to Zimbardo and Boyd (ibidem), the TP is composed of the categories of: the past-negative, the past-positive, the present-fatalistic, the present-hedonistic and the future (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). Each of these temporal dimensions may be either dominant or balanced with the rest of the categories. The optimal TP is a balanced one, or one that at least is characterised by the perspectives of past-positive, present-hedonistic and future (Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2004, Laghi, Baiocco, Liga, Guarino, & Baumgartner, 2013). An optimal TP must interweave present, past and future, but how these interweave both influences and is influenced by certain appropriate conditions. In this paper the optimal temporal perspective is considered to be one associated with an optimal physical and sports practice, in other words, a practice in which sufficient time is invested, while also leaving other timeslots for the performance of other leisure activities.

2. Rationale and objectives

Three elements give rise to the research presented in these pages. Firstly, the importance that leisure has for the young person, and whether or not a certain activity plays a constructive role. Secondly, the importance of sports and physical leisure in youth, the physical, psychological and social benefits of which can have a positive effect on the development of those who engage in the activity. And thirdly, but not least importantly, the influence of the different physical and sports leisure times, and how they contribute to positive development and, by extension, to confront the vulnerabilities that can affect young people.

From these three elements it follows that how beneficial sports and physical leisure can be for youth involves considering the temporal intensity of its practice together with the perceived experience of this leisure activity. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the relationships between two conceptions of temporality (time invested and Time Perspective) and the experience of physical and sports leisure in a sample of young people.

3. Methodology

3.1. Participants

A total of 147 young people (63 girls and 84 boys) aged between 18 and 24 years old participated in a study (M = 21.18 years; SD = 2.00) on the uses of time by 938 young people in Spain (for more information, see the note on research funding). This sample was obtained from an online panel according to proportional allocation, with a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 3.2%. The quotas used for the sample, based on the census of inhabitants of Spain as of 1 January, 2015 (INE, 2015), were sex and age (aged 18-24 years old). Taking into account the objectives set, the sample included those who had carried out a physical and/or sports activity at the time of the data collection, and the questions concerned the activities carried out on the previous day (see section 2.3 Procedure below).

3.2. Instruments

Two tests were used. The first consisted of an ad hoc questionnaire that was structured similarly to Neulinger's Time Budget (Neulinger, 1986) (for the suitability of this instrument in the analysis of behaviour over time, cf. Andorka, 1987; Steinbach, 2006). Specifically, it was adapted following the recent applications carried out to the context of this study (Codina, 2004, Codina & Pestana, 2016, 2017, Codina et al., 2016). The questionnaire recorded the activities engaged in on the day before the questionnaire was administered.

The analytical variables of leisure recorded were based on Codina (1999): firstly, time invested (number of minutes spent performing the activity) and the weekly frequency of physical and sports leisure activities (number of times a week the activity was usually practised); and secondly, the leisure experience, which consisted of the perceptions about activities of their choice and satisfaction with those activities. The incorporation of these variables provided an overview for each activity to be placed in the context of everyday life. Time Budget can address the social desirability that underlies questions (of specific questionnaires) about activities such as, for example, reading or physical and sports activity which, while being recommendable, does not usually meet the standards advocated by international organisations; for some examples in the Spanish context, see Chillon et al., 2009; Moscoso & Moyano, 2009; Varo, Martinez & Martinez Gonzalez, 2003.

After completing the questionnaire, the participants completed the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI: Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999), which consisted of 56 items referring to five factors: two related to the present (hedonistic, fatalistic); two related to the past (positive, negative); and one related to the future (regarding planning and perseverance with respect to the future, without distinction between positive and negative). The responses to the ZPTI were registered on a Likert-type scale with five response options (ranging from 1 = 'does not describe me at all' to 5 = 'perfectly describes me'). The adaptation to the Spanish population by Diaz-Morales was used in this case (2006, for recent uses of this instrument in relation to activities and leisure experience, see Codina & Pestana, 2016).

3.3. Procedure

The field work was preceded by two preparation phases, following the guidelines of previous research conducted in the field of leisure activities (Codina & Pestana, 2012, 2016, 2017). In the first phase, the research team worked with specialist IT staff to include the items of both instruments in the software and design the format that the participants would see. In order to prevent data loss, the questionnaire was programmed to ensure that all questions needed to be answered; in this way, progress could only be made if the previous question shown on the screen had been answered (otherwise, a warning appeared). The response categories for each question were visible on the same screen, to ensure participants would not need to scroll through it. Once the last items of the questionnaire programming were verified, the second phase began with a pilot test, which served as the basis to make any necessary format adjustments.

Following some final operational checks, an email was sent to the participants to invite them to be part of the study, with a direct link to the instrument (a single link which they could not return to once the answers had been sent). The questions were available to be answered during the month of November 2015.

3.4. Data analysis

The following variables were used: sex of the participants; characteristics of the physical and sports activities carried out (time invested, weekly frequency and leisure experience, that is, perceptions about their personal choice of activities and satisfaction with them); and factors related to perception of time (present-hedonistic, present-fatalistic, past-positive, past-negative and future).

The associations between the variables were calculated by: the chi-squared coefficient (between the sex of the participants, the time invested and the weekly frequency of physical and sports leisure activities); and Pearson's correlation coefficient r (between perceptions of the leisure experience and Time Perspective factors). Associations for sex, time invested and weekly frequency with the leisure experience and time perspective factors were assessed by the use of Student's t test and an analysis of variance as appropriate.

4. Results

4.1. Physical and sports leisure. Time invested and weekly frequency

As shown in Table 1, 27.2% of the participants stated that they had spent up to 60 minutes per week performing physical and sports activities; 23.1% of them engaged in this type of activity for 91-120 minutes; 20.4% did between 61-90 minutes of physical and sports leisure activities; 12.2% of participants did between 121-150 minutes of physical and sports activity; and 17.0% devoted more than 150 minutes to this type of leisure.

With regard to the weekly frequency of physical and sports leisure (ibidem Table 1), the highest proportions corresponded to those who engaged in it 4-5 times/week (35.4%) and 2-3 times/week (34.0%). Consequently, there was a minority who carried out this activity once a week or less (15.0%) and 6-7 times/week and above (15.6%).

Significant differences were observed for both indicators on time spent engaging in sports and physical leisure, according to the sex of the participants (ibidem Table 1). In the case of the time spent ([chi-square] = 9.57; p = .048), the girls were in the majority among those who spent up to 60 minutes on the type of activity under consideration (55.0% as opposed to 45.0% of boys) and more than 150 minutes (56.0% against 44.0% of boys). Therefore, girls were in a minority in spending between 60 and 150 minutes on this kind of activity. With regard to the weekly frequency of physical and sports leisure ([chi-square] = 7.22; p =.065), girls spent less time on the activity concerned (once a week or less: 63.6% of girls compared to 36.4% of boys); in other words, boys prevailed in terms of weekly practice frequency in excess of 2-3 times per week.

4.2. Physical and sports leisure experience and time perspectives

The evaluations with respect to the experience of physical and sports leisure showed that the means of the perceptions concerning personal choice (M = 8.38) and satisfaction (M = 8.25) indicated high and similar values, that is, scores in excess of eight points (over a maximum of ten points). It should be noted, however, that the variations in the scores of personal choice (SD = 2.42) were higher than those of satisfaction perception (SD = 1.80). Taken together, these data indicate that the experience of sports and physical leisure was characterised by perceptions of personal choice and high satisfaction in the sample studied. It should also be noted that no significant differences were observed between girls and boys in the scores obtained about the leisure experience.

From the time perspectives considered (ibidem Table 2), the highest scores (which were also similar to each other) were found in the cases of the past-positive (M = 3.37), the future (M = 3.34) and the present-hedonistic (M = 3.32). Consequently, the lowest scores among these five factors corresponded to the present-fatalistic (M = 2.78) and to the past-negative (M = 3.05). Variations in the averages of these perspectives were around 0.5, with the exception of the past-negative (SD = 0.67).

It is in the negative view of the past where significant differences were observed according to sex (t = 1.71, p =.088), as boys (M = 3.13) had a more negative view about the past than girls (M = 2.95).

The correlations between the leisure experience and the Time Perspective factors (Table 3) were as follows: in one case, between the perceptions of personal choice, satisfaction and appropriation; and in another case, between the Time Perspective factors.

Among the indicators of the leisure experience, the most robust correlation was found between personal choice and satisfaction (r = .397), although the other two were equally significant for p <.01. As to Time Perspective factors, the present-hedonistic had two suggestive-and significant-correlations (p <.01): specifically, these were found between the present-hedonistic with the present-fatalistic (r=.410) and the past-negative (r =.257).

Finally, the most remarkable correlations found between the leisure experience and the Time Perspective were those between personal choice and the present-hedonistic, (r =0 .191; p <.05) and the past-positive (r =.165; p <. 05); and between satisfaction with the past-positive (r =.204; p <.05) and the future (r =.166; p <.05).

5. Discussion and conclusions

The results show the existing relationships between two conceptions of time (invested time and time perspective) and the experience of sports and physical leisure. These data, in addition to characterising leisure, point towards young people's potential vulnerabilities.

The time invested and the weekly frequency of physical and sports leisure can be considered to be adequate for the whole of the sample studied, as they were within the time and frequency recommended by the WHO for this activity to be beneficial (World Health Organization, 2010). However, the low proportion of sports and physical leisure practitioners (n = 147) over the general sample of the general study was rather striking (N = 938). In addition, some vulnerability was observed among girls with respect to boys regarding the practice of physical and sports leisure activities. The fact that the girls were in the majority in the two extremes of time invested (less than an hour, and more than two and a half hours, respectively), as well as in the lowest weekly frequency, suggests that this type of leisure activity is engaged in either sporadically, or now and again but intensively, that is, without the regularity that the practice of physical and sports leisure requires for its benefits to be felt. These results also suggest that the way girls practice these activities may be structured or guided by an event linked to dance (which is the activity most practised by girls: Codina et al., 2016).

Time Perspective (the other conception of time investigated here), was characterised by being predominantly positive and therefore optimal. These results corroborate previous findings (Boniwell & Zimbardo, 2004). However, the scores of the past-negative (higher among boys than among girls) and the directly proportional relationship between the positive and negative aspects of the present, suggest the need to obtain further insight into the influence that past experiences have on the current perception of the past and of these time perspectives on leisure (and, by extension on other areas of behaviour). In this sense, a greater presence of a past-negative with some robust positive time dimensions points to the involvement of a resilience process in which the role of sports and physical leisure should be assessed. It can be stated that the young people studied on the whole presented good levels of time investment and frequency of physical and sports practice and that they also showed a positive time orientation, which made them less vulnerable.

The data obtained on the leisure experience with respect to personal choice and satisfaction confirm the positive effect of freedom on leisure (Munne and Codina, 1996). In addition, the interrelated influences identified between both aspects of the physical and sports leisure experience and the positive aspects of present and past time perspectives support the need to study leisure not only as a given leisure practice, but as a way of behaving in non-committed time that relates to certain positive attitudes towards the past, the present and the future. These interrelated influences also open up new perspectives that could shed light on the vulnerabilities that can be revealed by leisure activities. Ultimately, laying claim to the deep meaning of freedom may be the best antidote to prevent possible exposures.

DOI: 10.7179/PSRI_2018.31.05


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Nuria Codina. Universitat de Barcelona, Departament de Psicologia Social i Psicologia Quantitativa. Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron 171, Ed. de Ponent, 08035 Barcelona. Correo electronico:

Jose Vicente Pestana. Universitat de Barcelona, Departament de Psicologia Social i Psicologia Quantitativa. Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron 171, Ed. de Ponent, 08035 Barcelona. Correo electronico:

Ana Maria Ponce de Leon. Universidad de La Rioja. Departamento de Ciencias de la Educacion. C/ Luis de Ulloa S/N. 26004 Logrono. Correo electronico:


Nuria Codina. Profesora Titular de Universidad, adscrita al Departamento de Psicologia Social y Psicologia Cuantitativa de la Universidad de Barcelona. Doctora en Psicologia (1990) y Licenciada en Psicologia (1985) por la Universitat de Barcelona. Ha sido profesora visitante en diversas universidades de Europa (Universidade do Minho, Universite Paul-Valery-Montpellier III), Norteamerica (University of Calgary, University of Georgia) y Suramerica (Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Sao Paulo; Pontificia Universidade de Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre; Unicamp, Campinas--Brasil). Su investigacion psicosocial sobre el ocio, el tiempo libre, el ser y la identidad se integra dentro del estudio de la gestion del tiempo, el bienestar personal y el desarrollo optimo. En particular, ha estudiado el tiempo y las actividades de ocio, las experiencias de ocio, el disfrute y la autonomia en la practica de actividades estructuradas, la procrastinacion y las orientaciones temporales. Estas investigaciones se desarrollan marcandose como objetivos explicar, comprender y orientar la intervencion psicosocial. Es autora de mas de 100 publicaciones cientificas, habiendo dirigido y participado en numerosas investigaciones financiadas a niveles local, nacional e internacional. ORCID: 0000-0003-0280-3651.

Jose Vicente Pestana. Profesor Asociado, adscrito al Departamento de Psicologia Social y Psicologia Cuantitativa de la Universidad de Barcelona. Doctor en Psicologia por la Universitat de Barcelona (UB, 2007--Premio Extraordinario de Doctorado), habiendose licenciado en Psicologia (opcion: Psicologia Social) por la Universidad Central de Venezuela (Distincion "Magna Cum Laude", 1993). Ha sido profesor visitante en el Recreation and Leisure Studies Program de la University of Georgia (Estados Unidos) y en la University of Sichuan (China), asi como conferenciante en la University of Calgary. Sus investigaciones--que suman una sesentena de contribuciones--se han centrado en ocio y tiempo libre, gestion del tiempo, identidad y self, con especial enfasis en las aplicaciones del teatro en la psicologia social y en la intervencion psicosocial. Es psicoterapeuta de orientacion junguiana, actual candidato en formacion de la Sociedad Espanola de Psicologia Analitica (SEPA). ORCID: 0000-0002-8329-0650.

Ana Maria Ponce de Leon. Catedratica de Universidad, adscrita al area de Didactica de la Expresion Corporal del Departamento de Ciencias de la Educacion. Doctora en Ciencias de la Educacion, Premio Extraordinario Doctorado (1996). Cuenta con estancias de investigacion en la Universidad de Roma, "Foro Italico", la Universidad de Oporto y la Padagogische Hochschule Universidad de Weingarten. Ha sido IP en 18 proyectos de I+D+I en temas de Educacion, Ocio, Actividad Fisico-deportiva y Familia; ha dirigido 11 tesis doctorales y es autora de mas de un centenar de libros, capitulos de libro y articulos cientificos de alto prestigio e impacto internacional integrados en sistemas de indizacion internacionales. Ha ocupado cargos de gestion universitaria como Vicerrectora de Innovacion Docente, Subdirectora del Centro de Ciencias Humanas, Juridicas Sociales, Directora de Estudios del Grado en Educacion Primaria y Coordinadora del Practicum en los Grados de Educacion. Ha contribuido en la formacion permanente del profesorado de Educacion Infantil, Primaria y Secundaria en centros Oficiales de Perfeccionamiento y Recursos del profesorado de las distintas Comunidades Autonomas, siendo ponente en multitud de cursos y talleres. ORCID: 0000-0003-4622-8062.

Nuria CODINA *, Jose Vicente PESTANA * & Ana Maria PONCE DE LEON **

* Universidad de Barcelona, ** Universidad de La Rioja

Received date: 26.VII.2017

Reviewed date: 14.IX.2017

Accepted date: 15.XI.2017

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR'S ADDRESS: Nuria Codina. universitat de Barcelona, Departament de Psicologia Social i Psicologia Quantitativa. Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron 171, Ed. de Ponent, 08035 Barcelona. Correo electronico:
Table 1: Time spent and weekly frequency of physical and sports
leisure activities. Prevalence according to sex

Time spent                    General sample        Girls
                                (N = 147)          (n = 63)

                             Frequency       %

Up to 60 min                     40         27.2     55.0
61-90 min                        30         20.4     43.3
91-120 min                       34         23.1     26.5
121-150 min                      18         12.2     27.8
More than 150 min                25         17.0     56.0

Weekly frequency

Once a week or less              22         15.0     63.6
2-3 times / week                 50         34.0     48.0
4-5 times / week                 52         35.4     32.7
6-7 times / week or more         23         15.6     34.8

Time spent                 Boys       [chi-square]    p
                           (n = 84)

Up to 60 min                 45.0
61-90 min                    56.7
91-120 min                   73.5
121-150 min                  72.2
More than 150 min            44.0         9.57       .048

Weekly frequency

Once a week or less          36.4
2-3 times / week             52.0
4-5 times / week             67.3
6-7 times / week or more     65.2         7.22       .065

Table 2: Physical and sports leisure experience and time
perspectives. Differences according to sex

Experience        General sample    Girls      Boys        t      p
                   (N = 147)       (n = 63)   (n = 84)

                    M        DT

Own choice        8.38      2.42     8.17       8.53     0.85    .392

Satisfaction      8.25      1.80     8.48       8.08     -1.31   .192


Present-          3.32      0.53     3.34       3.30     -0.39   .693

Present-          2.78      0.51     2.82       2.71     1.29    .197

Past-positive     3.37      0.48     3.38       3.37     -0.13   .892

Past-negative     3.05      0.67     2.95       3.13     1.71    .088

Future            3.34      0.51     3.40       3.30     -1.14   .255

Note. Experience, measured on a scale from 0 to 10; Time Perspective,
measured on a scale from 1 to 5.

Table 3: Inter-correlations between the scores obtained in the
physical and sports leisure experience and time perspectives (n =

Experience               1        2         3         4        5

1. Own choice           --

2. Satisfaction       .397 **     --

Time perspective

3. Present-hedonist   .191 *     .130      --

4. Present-fatalist    -.045    -.113    .410 **     --

5. Past-positive      .165 *    .204 *   .372 **    .038       --

6. Past-negative       .098      .013     .071     .257 **   -.002

7. Future              .083     .166 *    -.048     -.031    .169 *

Experience              6     7

1. Own choice

2. Satisfaction

Time perspective

3. Present-hedonist

4. Present-fatalist

5. Past-positive

6. Past-negative       --

7. Future             -.018   --

Note. * p <.05 (2-tailed); ** p <.01 (2-tailed). Experience, measured
on a scale from 0 to 10; Time Perspective, measured on a scale from 1
to 5.
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Title Annotation:texto en ingles
Author:Codina, Nuria; Pestana, Jose Vicente; De Leon, Ana Maria Ponce
Publication:Pedagogia Social
Article Type:Ensayo
Date:Jan 1, 2018

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