Research Topic

Leisure, Positive Development, and Optimal Functioning: Improving Growing and Ageing

About this Research Topic

Leisure is a relevant topic in psychological studies considering its influence in the promotion of optimal human functioning. Defined as a complex psycho-social-ecological phenomenon, leisure contributes to the emergence of meaningful and purposeful experiences in individuals across different contexts and involving a diverse range of activities. More than any other realm of life, individuals tend to express their wellness and positivity in relation to leisure experiences, which integrate personal, social and contextual aspects of daily life. Accordingly, leisure has a pivotal role in development, crossing cognitive, affective and motivational personal dimensions, interpersonal relationships, activities, and contexts.

Over the last few decades, leisure research has contributed to understanding how individuals and societies flourish and thrive and how developmental complexity over the lifespan is enhanced and optimized. Empirical research suggests that leisure creates opportunities for strengthening individuals, families, and communities by empowering relationships and sustaining natural environments, thus making life worth living.

From this perspective, it is essential to study the capacity of individuals to organize and regulate themselves, within daily life and across the course of life, to engage in meaningful lives. In this process, the role of leisure needs to be addressed in order to understand, explain, and counsel others about how leisure experiences contribute to building optimized life trajectories, considering ecological approaches on developmental processes.
Considering these trajectories, two main developmental moments will be highlighted through studies on two specific populations: adolescents and the elderly. These two age groups represent significant pivotal developmental periods in the life course when considering processes of identity construction, in terms of growing and ageing. These processes are supported in the ecological perspective, where individuals and their experiences are the product of the interaction between personal and contextual/environmental variables (nurture vs. nature debate). Accordingly, to know the characteristics of subjective leisure experiences is a main aspect in leisure studies aimed to improve thriving and self-expression in particular developmental periods as it is the case of adolescence and elderly people.

We intend to gather researchers across disciplines with the unifying goal of studying how leisure influences or is influenced by individuals and contexts, and their interaction, making possible the production of new insights into developmental processes and changes, within the new field of positive development, connecting both processes of growing and ageing.

This Research Topic will be an opportunity for researchers from different perspectives and scientific fields to approach their contributions in leisure studies. Studies with each one of the groups (adolescents and the elderly), or comparing both, will be considered in order to potentiate research outcomes and related contributions for improving optimal functioning in these two groups. We welcome scholars and researchers to present their original articles, with different methodologies and theoretical frameworks being possible. Conceptual discussions exploring new theoretical approaches will be also considered.

With this range of contributions, this specific Research Topic aims to be a remarkable milestone in the enrichment of theoretical, empirical, and applied knowledge in leisure studies and positive development. We believe it will appeal to many different researchers across different disciplines.


Keywords: leisure, positive development, balanced life, growing, ageing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Leisure is a relevant topic in psychological studies considering its influence in the promotion of optimal human functioning. Defined as a complex psycho-social-ecological phenomenon, leisure contributes to the emergence of meaningful and purposeful experiences in individuals across different contexts and involving a diverse range of activities. More than any other realm of life, individuals tend to express their wellness and positivity in relation to leisure experiences, which integrate personal, social and contextual aspects of daily life. Accordingly, leisure has a pivotal role in development, crossing cognitive, affective and motivational personal dimensions, interpersonal relationships, activities, and contexts.

Over the last few decades, leisure research has contributed to understanding how individuals and societies flourish and thrive and how developmental complexity over the lifespan is enhanced and optimized. Empirical research suggests that leisure creates opportunities for strengthening individuals, families, and communities by empowering relationships and sustaining natural environments, thus making life worth living.

From this perspective, it is essential to study the capacity of individuals to organize and regulate themselves, within daily life and across the course of life, to engage in meaningful lives. In this process, the role of leisure needs to be addressed in order to understand, explain, and counsel others about how leisure experiences contribute to building optimized life trajectories, considering ecological approaches on developmental processes.
Considering these trajectories, two main developmental moments will be highlighted through studies on two specific populations: adolescents and the elderly. These two age groups represent significant pivotal developmental periods in the life course when considering processes of identity construction, in terms of growing and ageing. These processes are supported in the ecological perspective, where individuals and their experiences are the product of the interaction between personal and contextual/environmental variables (nurture vs. nature debate). Accordingly, to know the characteristics of subjective leisure experiences is a main aspect in leisure studies aimed to improve thriving and self-expression in particular developmental periods as it is the case of adolescence and elderly people.

We intend to gather researchers across disciplines with the unifying goal of studying how leisure influences or is influenced by individuals and contexts, and their interaction, making possible the production of new insights into developmental processes and changes, within the new field of positive development, connecting both processes of growing and ageing.

This Research Topic will be an opportunity for researchers from different perspectives and scientific fields to approach their contributions in leisure studies. Studies with each one of the groups (adolescents and the elderly), or comparing both, will be considered in order to potentiate research outcomes and related contributions for improving optimal functioning in these two groups. We welcome scholars and researchers to present their original articles, with different methodologies and theoretical frameworks being possible. Conceptual discussions exploring new theoretical approaches will be also considered.

With this range of contributions, this specific Research Topic aims to be a remarkable milestone in the enrichment of theoretical, empirical, and applied knowledge in leisure studies and positive development. We believe it will appeal to many different researchers across different disciplines.


Keywords: leisure, positive development, balanced life, growing, ageing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2017 Manuscript
02 January 2018 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 September 2017 Manuscript
02 January 2018 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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