An Evaluation of the Effects of a Leisure Education Curriculum on Delinquents’ Motivation, Knowledge, and Behavior Changes Related to Boredom

Finn, Paul Robert Jr. (2006). A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs in the College of Health and Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida.

ABSTRACT: Adolescents today have more unsupervised and unstructured free time than ever before. Poor decisions by youth during periods of free time may lead to substance abuse, teen pregnancy and juvenile delinquency. The highest frequency of juvenile crime, a major social problem, occurs during the 2-4 hours following the end of the school day.

Research has demonstrated the benefits of engaging adolescents in prosocial leisure activity. However, no research has studied the issues of free time and leisure education with a delinquent population.

This paper documents the impact of a leisure education curriculum on a population of delinquent youth in a randomized experiment. The delinquent youths who received the leisure education reported higher intrinsic motivation and better use of free time. The delinquent youths also reported improved decision making related to their involvement in healthy, prosocial freetime activities. Finally, the improvement in the delinquent youths’ motivation influenced a significant decrease in the delinquent youths’ proneness to boredom during their free time.

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