Research Article
Issue Date: May/June 2000
Published Online: May 01, 2000
Updated: April 30, 2020
Time Use and Leisure Occupations of Young Offenders
Author Affiliations
  • Louise Farnworth, OT, MA, PhD, is Lecturer, School of Occupational Therapy, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia, 3083;
Article Information
Research Article   |   May 01, 2000
Time Use and Leisure Occupations of Young Offenders
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2000, Vol. 54, 315-325.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2000, Vol. 54, 315-325.
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Objective. The overall goal of this study was to understand the time use, including leisure occupations, of a sample of young offenders in Melbourne, Australia.

Method. This study investigated how 37 probationary young offenders (from 13–18 years of age) spent their wakeful time during 1 week. The study used a combination of the Experience Sampling Method and interviewing. Participants were beeped 60 times over 7 days and, each time, they were asked to complete a questionnaire about the occupations in which they were engaged. Each participant was interviewed both before and after the Experience Sampling Method data collection about their everyday lives, including their leisure occupations. Data were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively.

Results. The young offenders reported that they were engaged in leisure occupations, predominantly passive, 57% of the times beeped, and in personal care occupations 21% of the times beeped. Only 10% of the times beeped did they report being engaged in productive occupations such as education or employment. The time spent in passive leisure occupations was 30% higher than for the average Australian adolescent. Leaving school and lack of financial and human resources contributed to the high percentage of engagement in passive leisure occupations.

Conclusion. Findings from this study help us to understand the relationship between use of time and social well-being, particularly the nature of time use of young offenders, and will help to inform occupational therapy practices with such groups.