Relationship between Leisure and Self-Identity
Leisure plays an important role in identity formation. According to Haggard & Williams(1992), we can construct contexts that provide us with information that believe and confirm who we are, and provide others with information that will agree them to understand us more accurately through leisure participation. But how the detail this process takes will be needed more descriptions and studies. Some researchers, like Shaw, Caldwell, Kivel and Kleiber, reject that leisure participation always affords positive influence as some researches indicated or as we expected. From considering the issues about gender and/or sexual identity, “we know ourselves not only by what we do, but also by what we choose not to do”1. In their studies, therefore, the importance that we expect leisure participation can benefit to participants will be reduced.
Everyone as an individual must have their inner life and interpersonal relationship with others, if they live in a real society. They needs to strive to understand themselves and be understood by others. Thus, they continually derives from any activities in which they participate as the resources to form or reform her identity. General speaking, successful identity formation should involve the integration of personal identity2 and social identity. The former refers to core characteristics of an individual, such as one believes themselves as a smart or a kind person. The latter refers to a view of self in relation to others/groups and social identification, e.g., being a student, a son, an athlete, a writer and so forth. According to Deaux, the formed identity is “integrated [personal and social], internal and reasonably permanent”.3 Identity formation is thought to be the major developmental tasks of adolescence. Adolescent period is usually divided into three parts: early, middle and late stages. The upper end of late adolescence is around 23 years of age(Santrock, 1990). Typically thinking, it is the time in which individuals begin the process of development of self-structure. Erikson(1968) suggested that it is this crucial developmental step associated with the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Other researchers, like Kleiber, Larson, and Csikszentmihayli(1986), also think that the identity development process bridge the gap between childhood play and adult work. What role does leisure play in identity formation?
Silberesian and Todt (1994) suggested that leisure might be considered the “fourth environment” for adolescent development in addition to school, family and peer groups. Hendry, Shucksmith, Love, and Glendinning (1993) claimed that leisure provides an extended context for those adolescents whose expect for advanced schooling. According to Hendry(1983), Kelly(1990) and Silberesian and Todt(1994) , leisure also provides an ideal context for experimenting with different roles and activities patterns. Moreover, from Haggard and Williams’ observation, researcher interested in self-concept developmental process have the belief that “leisure contributes to this developmental process in which human beings being actively seek to understand themselves in relation to the world around them, and to maintain a sense of self-consistency and positive regard.”4 Leisure provides an appropriate and positive context for developing one’s self identity. These views broadens the field of self-concept from examining what one believe themselves to be, to an exploration of the rich and varied array of self-relevant beliefs. Through participation in leisure activities, adolescents draw meaning from their actions and interactions that tell them about themselves. They are motivated to bring the perceived self into consistence with the ideal self they have in mind. They are autonomous in choosing and through participation in various leisure activities offer many images of self, served as role playing, that are “primarily liberating...
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