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Healthy adolescence in the context of leisure time

The role of organized and unstructured leisure-time activities
PhD ceremony:P. Badura, MSc
When:September 19, 2018
Supervisors:prof. dr. S.A. (Menno) Reijneveld, prof. A. (Andrea) Madarasová Gecková, PhD
Co-supervisors:J.P. (Jitse) van Dijk, dr. D. Sigmundova
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG

Organised activities good for the health and school performance of adolescents

Leisure time represents a large portion of adolescents’ time budgets, and the ways it is spent substantially determines their lifestyle and health-related behaviours. Most research on leisure, and organized activities in particular, has thus far been conducted in the USA and Canada. Studies from European countries on this topic are scarce. Therefore, this thesis aimed to examine the associations of adolescents’ participation in organized leisure-time activities (OLTA) and unstructured activities (UA) with health- and school-related outcomes, using a large representative sample of Czech adolescents who participated in the international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. OLTA participants were more likely to report enhanced physical and mental health and good school functioning than non-participants. Moreover, participation in OLTA was associated with lower levels of substance use, especially in girls. Otherwise, the associations mostly held for both genders across all age categories (11-, 13- and 15-year-olds) surveyed, even after adjustment for socioeconomic status. However, they varied somewhat by pattern of OLTA participation; e.g. we observed differences in health- and school-related outcomes, with outcomes being best for those participating in the arts. Regarding UA, we found that those involved in unsupervised UA had higher rates of adverse health-behaviours and poor school performance than those who were not involved in such UA. Furthermore, those engaging only in UA were more likely to partake in adverse health behaviours and to do worse at school than those who participated in any OLTA concurrently.