Doing a leisure activity because there is nothing else to do: Related outcomes and intervention effects for adolescents
Caldwell, Linda L.
Weybright, Elisabeth H.
Smith, Edward A.
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This study examined whether a leisure-focused intervention, HealthWise, was related to reduced youth polysubstance use and delayed sexual debut via reducing how often youth did leisure activities because there was nothing else to do. HealthWise was compared to a no-intervention control for 5,610 high school students from eighth to tenth grades in townships near Cape Town, South Africa. Three specific leisure activities were examined: spending time with friends, playing sports, and going to parks. Among girls, spending time with friends because there was nothing else to do significantly mediated the effect of HealthWise on reducing frequent polysubstance use in the past month. For boys, spending time in parks because there was nothing else to do mediated the effect of HealthWise on delayed sexual debut. Results partially supported the HealthWise logic model of impacting risky behaviors via leisure and the value of prevention programs addressing the reasons behind leisure choices.