The most common leisure activities among both boys and girls are exercise and sports. Girls are more active than boys with cultural and creative activities, such as theater and music. They are also more often members of an association. Members of associations are generally more active in their free time compared to those who are not.
“But the answers show that it is important to have a fair amount of leisure activities. 30 percent of young people have six activities or more and this increases the risk of sleep problems, stress, headaches and depression", says Mats Jakobsson, senior lecturer in work science and one of the researchers behind the study.
Three high schools in the study
The study consists of two parts, a quantitative and a qualitative. The qualitative part has been carried out in the form of co-creative workshops with students in three upper secondary schools in Piteå municipality with 15-25 students from each school. Both urban schools and rural schools participate in the study. The quantitative material consists of a questionnaire survey from 2018 containing 794 questionnaire responses from students in grades 7 and 9 in Piteå municipality. The students have answered questions about how they experience their free time. The analysis has been carried out with descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis methods where different characteristics, such as gender, foreign background and school context have been combined to discover connections and patterns among students and assess which characteristics may be important for how they perceive their leisure and how leisure can be important for how young people feel.
The researchers are conducting the study in collaboration with the culture, park and leisure administration in Piteå municipality on behalf of the culture and leisure committee. The project is ongoing throughout 2022 and the purpose is to compare the leisure offer for different groups of young people and in the long run to better adapt it to the needs of the target group. An important focus in the assignment is diversity and inclusion – a Piteå for everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or where in the municipality you live. After the end of the project, recommendations for further development are expected to be made.
Design as a strategic tool
The qualitative work is carried out in the form of the design methodology now-wow-how, a future method that aims to develop new ideas or solutions to social problems. The methodology is specifically useful for participants who do not have experience of creative development-oriented future exploration, such as young people and young people. Design is used in the project as a strategic tool with the aim of improving young people's leisure life, increasing inclusion and contributing to long-term sustainable development in Piteå.
The participating researchers are Åsa Wikberg Nilsson, assistant professor of design, Liv Jenny Sandberg, research student in design and Mats Jakobsson, senior lecturer in human work science.