Boredom, stress and social control in the daily activities of adolescents

Susan M. Shaw, Linda L. Caldwell, Douglas A. Kleiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


This paper examines the experiences of boredom, time stress and lack of choice (lack of control) in the daily lives of adolescents, and especially in their free time activities. Both quantitative and qualitative data are used from a survey (n = 73) and interview (n = 20) study of grade 10 students from Ontario, Canada. The findings indicate that while free time activities were common everyday occurrences, many of the students (especially females) reported high levels of time stress, which affected out-of-school as well as in-school situations. A large number of students also reported a considerable amount of boredom in their daily activities. Boredom related not only to lack of options, but also to participation in adult-structured activities. In addition, some students (especially females) reported that at times they participated in leisure activities to please others rather than to please themselves. These findings are discussed in terms of social control theory, with particular attention to the degree to which adolescent free time is controlled or structured by the dominant adult culture. The analysis leads to the suggestions that social control mechanisms do affect the free time activities of adolescents, and that these mechanisms have a stronger influence on the lives of female compared to male adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-292
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Boredom, stress and social control in the daily activities of adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this