Perceptions of Leisure by Older Adults Who Attend Senior Centers

John Dattilo, Amy E. Lorek, Jacqueline Mogle, Martin Sliwinski, Sara Freed, Margaret Frysinger, Sandy Schuckers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This article provides a description of salient themes that emerged from an investigation examining perceptions of leisure engagement by older adults who attend senior centers. A qualitative study initially using four focus groups was conducted with 34 older adults (ages 64–95, M = 78.24, SD = 8.24), including 27 women. As a follow-up, participants from the original focus groups and demographically similar older adults attended five focus groups that were used as member check events. Data were generated from the original four focus groups and five member check sessions totalling nine focus groups. Eighteen themes emerged to create the foundation for a framework based on self-determination theory that provides insight into the complex experiences described by senior center users. Although challenges associated with aging threaten the ability of older adults to meet their self-determination needs, they develop adaptation strategies to overcome these difficulties and achieve autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-390
Number of pages18
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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