From Substitution to Coping: Developing and Testing a Leisure Constraints-Based Coping Model



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The conceptualization of leisure constraints is dependent on negotiating a hierarchy of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural leisure constraints. It has become a recognizable and distinct subfield within leisure studies. Research has shown that the leisure constraints should not be necessarily viewed as insurmountable obstacles. Individuals can negotiate constraints by applying an array of coping mechanisms. Recently, Iwasaki and Schneider (2003) and Schneider and Stanis (2007) proposed that constraints negotiation and coping with stress share much in common. Leisure constraints are considered elements of stress, whereas constraint negotiation appears to share commonalities with ways of coping with stress. The distinction between negotiation and coping is that negotiation is something people have engaged in prior to participating in the activity, whereas coping involves strategies people more typically engage in during active participation (in response to unwanted or unanticipated situations). Based on past literature, I constructed a constraints-coping model to extend our understanding of constraints negotiation by integrating an understanding of coping mechanisms into leisure constraints-negotiation models. In order to broaden the scope of a constraints-coping framework, I integrated additional social indicators (e.g., commitment, motivation, place attachment, and frequency of participation) into my hypothesized model. First, my testing of the constraints-coping model provided empirical support for Iwasaki and his colleagues' suggestion that coping strategies can be potentially integrated into models of constraints-negotiation processes. Second, I confirmed that the three types of onsite constraints continue to have relevance for active participants. The three types of constraining factors directly influence subsequent aspects of leisure engagement for recreationists already participating. Third, I confirmed that recreationists are more likely to cope with constraints by employing an array of problem-focused coping strategies, rather than to simply adjust cognitively. However, my findings illustrate that recreationists' coping responses vary in response to different types of constraints encountered (e.g., intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural). The experience of constraints did not universally result in the increased use of coping. Fourth, my results confirm that motivation is an immediate antecedent of constraints as well as a potential trigger for encouraging more problem-focused coping strategies. Last, four selected key variables (e.g., place attachment, commitment motivation, and frequency of participation) demonstrated different effects on influencing active participants' perceived constraints and subsequent coping strategies. Future investigations of coping strategies should continue to explore how active participants cope with onsite constraints based on a constraints-coping model in different settings.