Serious leisure and depression in older adults: a study of pickleball players

Jinmoo Heo, Jungsu Ryu, Hyunmin Yang, Kyung Min Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Depression rates among older adults have been increasing. Moreover, older adults experiencing depression also have to contend with increased healthcare costs. Depression is commonly regarded as an indicator of well-being, and a number of studies have examined the protective factors related to depression in older adults. While the literature has shown that engaging in serious leisure is associated with well-being of older adults, the relationship between depression and serious leisure has not been examined. This study explores the relationship between depression, serious leisure, optimism, and social integration. A total of 153 older adults competing in pickleball tournaments participated in this study. The results revealed that serious leisure and depression were inversely related, which implies that commitment to serious leisure is associated with lower levels of depression in older adults. Further analysis correlating the qualities of serious leisure with depression revealed that career progression and career contingencies were associated with depression. Given the importance of career development among most pickleball participants, we suggest that the unique contribution of career progress and career contingencies on depression is plausible. This study builds on previous research in this field and suggests that serious leisure is important for the well-being of older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-573
Number of pages13
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 3

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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