Deciding what to do: A behavioral framework for leisure consumption decisions

Date of Completion

January 1998


Business Administration, Marketing|Psychology, Behavioral|Recreation




In this dissertation I study what people do in leisure, and why; what motivates individuals to prefer certain leisure-time pursuits over others, and what factors might influence leisure consumption.^ I propose that leisure consumption and consumer decisions regarding leisure time are fundamentally connected to an individual's tempocognitive style, i.e., how a person perceives, thinks about, and copes with time. My research presents a multidimensional view of tempocognitive style, the construct includes the dimensions of: social emphasis (time alone vs. time with others), temporal emphasis (to the past, present, or future), planning style (analytic vs. holistic), and behavioral style (monochronic vs. polychronic).^ Further, I argue that it is important to understand the interactions between social and cognitive processes in how people perceive and approach leisure time. Specifically, I posit that ethnicity (e.g., Anglos vs. Latinos), family influence, and an individual's life themes and projects play key roles in shaping a person's tempocognitive style and his or her leisure goals and motives. Thus, my approach seeks to integrate the study of leisure-time perception and consumption with research on sociocognitive influences on consumption.^ I explore, test, and refine my conceptual framework in a series of three empirical studies. Studies 1 and 2 involve qualitative data and I employ interpretive research techniques. I explore how people subjectively define and approach leisure time. I also examine the links between ethnicity, family, and life themes and projects and an individual's tempocognitive style and leisure goals.^ Study 3 involves quantitative data from a survey of 30 pairs of sisters. The main objective of this study is to examine family influence in leisure consumption using the coorientation approach. I assess the extent of family influence in tempocognitive style, leisure goals, and leisure activities. I also examine the relationship between life projects and tempocognitive style, and whether life projects and tempocognitive style together influence leisure goals. ^