Leisure as a coping resources: Variations in coping with traumatic injury and illness

Susan L. Hutchinson, David P. Loy, Douglas A. Kleiber, John Dattilo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


The influence of leisure in coping with negative life events likely derives from its powers to distract, to generate optimism about the future, and to preserve a sense of self in the face of trauma (Kleiber, Hutchinson, and Williams, 2002). While there is recent evidence of leisure's role in coping with daily hassles and normative life stressors (e.g., Iwasaki and Mannell, 2000), the nature and extent of leisure's utility in coping with a life-altering event, such as a traumatic injury, is not well understood. The purpose of this paper is to examine how individuals used leisure in coping with a traumatic injury or the onset of a chronic illness. Qualitative data from two studies involving people with either a spinal cord injury or chronic illness were used for this analysis. Findings support suggestions from earlier research: leisure served to buffer effects of immediate life circumstances and it sustained their coping efforts in various ways. The authors end by discussing the data in light of recent theoretical propositions about the role of positive affect and meaning in coping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-161
Number of pages19
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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