The Influence of the Peer Relationship, Leisure Boredom, Family Satisfaction, and Academic Achievement on Self-esteem of Students at a Midwestern University
학업 성취, 심리사회적, 여가적 변인들이 미국 대학생들의 자기 존중감에 미치는 영향
- Publish: Journal of Leisure and Recreation Studies Volume 35, Issue1, p117~133, 00 March 2011
This study examined the relationships between self-esteem and the study research variables (i.e., peer relationship, leisure boredom, family satisfaction, and academic achievement (overall GPA score) among university students. Students (N = 405) at a large Midwestern university served as the study sample. This study hypothesized that variables in this study were related to self-esteem of university students. Participants completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE; Rosenberg, 1962), the Index of Peer Relation (IPR;
Hudson, 1992), the Kansas Family Life Satisfaction Scale (KFLS) (Shumm, Jurich, & Bollman, 1986), and the Leisure Boredom Scale (LBS) (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990). The study results revealed peer relationship and family satisfaction were positively related with self-esteem while leisure boredom was negatively associated with self-esteem. In multiple regression analysis, peer relationship was found to be the most significant predictor of self-esteem followed by leisure boredom and family satisfaction.
본 연구의 목적은 미국 중서부 대학생들 (N=405)의 동료관계, 여가권태, 가족만족, 그리고 학업성취도가 자아 존중감에 미치는 영향을 알아보고자 하는 것이다. 따라서 이러한 변수들이 미국대학생들의 자아 존중감에 영향을 미칠 것이라고 가정하고, 본 연구를 위해 the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE; Rosenberg, 1962), the Index of Peer Relation (IPR;
Hudson, 1992), the Kansas Family Life Satisfaction Scale (KFLS) (Shumm, Jurich, & Bollman, 1986), and the Leisure Boredom Scale (LBS) (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990)의 설문지를 사용하였다. 연구결과로 상관분석에서 동료관계와 가족만족은 자아 존중감에 정적상관을, 여가권태는 자아 존중감과 부적상관을 나타냈다. 다중회귀분석결과에서는 동료관계가 가장 큰 예측 변인으로 나타났으며, 여가권태와 가족만족은 자아존중감에 영향을 미치는 것으로 나타났으나, GPA는 영향을 미치지 않는 것으로 나타났다.
Self-Esteem , Peer Relationships , Family Satisfaction , Leisure Boredom
Fostering self-esteem in participants is one of the most common and important goals in recreation and other human and health services. According to Thomson and Rudolph (1995), self-esteem refers to the regard that one holds toward oneself, that is, a person’s overall judgment of the self. Rosenberg (1979) defined self-esteem as one dimension of a person’s self-concept and a person’s overall thoughts and feelings about her or himself as an object. Self-esteem is a very important indicator of mental health and well-being (Benas, & Gibb, 2007; Tsai, Ying, & Lee, 2001). High self-esteem implies an individual’s positive sense of self-worth, self-respect, and high self-efficacy while low self-esteem indicates self-dissatisfaction, self-rejection, self-contempt, and low self-efficacy(Rosenberg, 1965; Saracoglu, Minden, & Wilchesku, 1989). Low self-esteem is also associated with aggression, antisocial behavior, low academic achievement, and delinquency (Donnellan, Trzesniewski, Robins, Moffitt, & Caspi, 2005; Saracoglu, Minden, & Wilchesku, 1989).
Self-esteem is influenced by an individual’s relationships with other people. Self-esteem is enhanced by the perception of having the approval of others such as peers and parents. Steinberg (1999) found that sound peer relationship (e. g., the approval of peers) is the most important contributor to self-esteem among young people. Other studies reported that family satisfaction, parents' support, and healthy relationships with other siblings were significantly associated with high self-esteem among young adults (Buri, 1987; Cashwell, 1995). Self-esteem is also associated with some demographics such as gender (Gentile et al., 2009; Kling, Hyde, Showers, & Bussell, 1999; Steinberg, 1999), academic achievement (El-Anzi, 2005; Hoge, Smith, & Hanson, 1990; Luster & McAdoo, 1995; Robinson, 1995, Wiggins, Schatz, & West, 1994), age (Twenge & Campbell, 2001), and racial status (Harris-Britt, Valrie, Kurtz-Costes, & Rowley, 2007; Porter & Washington, 1993). While these psychosocial and demographic variables have been reported to have relationships with self-esteem, not much attention has been paid to leisure-related variables.
Leisure activities are especially important for young people because they provide young generation with opportunities to examine their autonomy and establish identities, and to provide opportunities to socialize (Iso-Ahola & Crowley, 1991). In contrast, the lack of a broad leisure repertoire or a perceived boredom in young people’s leisure time may lead to both behavioral and psychological problems (Iso-Ahola & Crowley). Research suggests that rather than achieving optimal experiences, a significant proportion of adolescents experience leisure time as unsatisfying mainly due to boredom (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990). Also, leisure boredom is known as a common phenomenon among young people (Caldwell, Darling, Payne & Dowdy, 1999).
Studies have found that boredom, in general, has numerous negative physio-psycho-social consequences among young adults. For instance, boredom has been related with poor performance in work place (Game, 2007), many abusive behaviors such as eating disorders (Sommers, & Vodanovich, 2000), drug use (Wegner, Fisher, Muller, & Lombard, 2006), drunk driving (Dahlen, Martin, Ragan, & Kuhlman, 2004), and pathological gambling (Blaszczynski, & Nower, 2002).
Leisure boredom, virtually, is known as a common phenomenon among young people (Caldwell, Darling, Payne, & Dowdy, 1999). Research proves that a significant proportion of young people experience leisure time as unsatisfying mainly due to boredom (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990).
Although there are ample evidence, as described above, that leisure boredom has a negative association with mental and physical health, studies that directly examined the relationship between leisure boredom and self-esteem are not easily found. Therefore, one of the main purposes of this study was to examine the relationship between leisure boredom and self-esteem.
Particularly, the relative importance of leisure boredom as a predictor of self-esteem was another study questions. For this purpose to be achieved, three most frequently introduced variables to self-esteem among young people, which are peer-relation, family satisfaction, and academic achievement, were compared in terms of its significance in predicting self-esteem among the population.
The literature was reviewed to further explore variables that influence self-esteem. In particular, some of the social psychological theories are introduced to better understand the relationships between self-esteem and the research variables. Based on the literature review, the authors identified the following research variables that predict self-esteem of university students: peer relationship, family satisfaction, leisure boredom, and some demographic variables such as age, gender, class standing, academic achievement, and ethnicity.
Peers play a significant role in influencing adolescents’ and college students’ day-to-day school behaviors, academic achievement, leisure behavior, and emotional and mental health (Savin-Williams & Berndt, 1990). Research shows that problematic peer relationships are associated with a range of serious psychological and behavioral problems during adolescence and adulthood (Steinberg, 1999). In addition, individuals who have poor peer relationships are more likely to be low achievers in school, drop out of school, show higher rates of delinquent behavior, and suffer from an array of emotional and mental health problems than their socially accepted peers (Savin-Williams & Berndt).
During the period of adolescence, young people begin to develop a separate sense of self that is differentiated from their family (Brown, Clasen, & Eicher, 1986). Steinberg (1999) posited that peers provide the sorts of models and feedback that adolescents cannot get from their parents and, in addition, peer relationships during adolescence influence each other’s self-identity. The peer group also provides frequent opportunity for interaction and leisure, which contribute to the development of intimacy and enhance the young adults’ mood and psychological well-being (Kramer & Hockman, 1994).
Self-completion theory (Gollwitzer & Wicklund, 1985) possibly explains this relationship. According to this theory, people are highly motivated to seek social recognition and to maintain sound relationships with others when they experience a threat to a valued aspect of their self-concept. That is, establishing good relationships with others is a way for people to restore and maintain their positive self-concept. Therefore, according to self-completion theory, it is probable that maintaining positive peer relationships with others is associated with high self-esteem. In sum, it is generally agreed that there is a significant positive relationship between self-esteem and peer relations. That is, individuals who have satisfying peer relationships are more likely to have high self-esteem.
Family satisfaction is the extent to which people feel contented with the relationships with their family members and with family life as a whole (Schumm, Jurich, & Bollman, 1986). Cashwell (1995) defined family satisfaction as one’s perceptions of satisfaction with cohesion (e.g., emotional bonding) and adaptability levels in one’s family (e.g., ability of a family system to change its power structure, role relationships, and relationship rules in response to situational stress) (Olsen et al., 1992).
Beginning with the work of Coopersmith (1967), the relationship between family satisfaction and self-esteem has been an important area of research (Cashwell, 1995). With regard to the relationship between these two variables, researchers have found that family satisfaction is associated with one’s self-esteem. For example, Scott, Scott, and, McCabe (1991) found that there was a general consensus across cultures in the magnitude of the correlation between self-esteem and family functioning and relationship. Cashwell(1995) also confirmed that family satisfaction was a strong significant predictor of self-esteem.
In general, family satisfaction is positively related to one’s self-esteem while family dissatisfaction such as inter-parental conflict, authoritarian parenting style, and poor relationships with other siblings are significantly associated with low self-esteem among young adults (Pawlak & Klein, 1997; Young, Denny, & Spear, 1999). Again, self-completion theory (Gollwitzer & Wicklund, 1985) may explain the relationship between family satisfaction and self-esteem from the same social psychological reason. That is, people may try to maintain (or restore) their positive self-concept by establishing good relationships with their family members.
Leisure boredom is “a negative mood or state of mind that reflects a mis-match between optimal experiences and the experiences that are perceptually available to the individual” (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990, p. 4). Leisure boredom may result from two conflicting perceptions: too much time available and too little to do. According to Csikszentmihalyi (1975), boredom results if leisure skills are greater than the challenge of leisure opportunities.
College years are a period of time when students seek for freedom and focus on various activities and interests. Whether college students experience leisure boredom or not may be a significant issue because leisure boredom among college students may have long-term ramifications which lead to problem behavior. Hickerson and Beggs (2007) argued that while many college students display positive leisure behavior, some may exhibit negative and deviant behavior in their leisure time. These negative behaviors can be caused by a lack of leisure skills and the presence of leisure boredom. Gordon and Caltabiano (1996) argued that a significant number of adolescent and young adults experience leisure boredom and dissatisfaction and a decrease in active leisure could be linked to social isolation and risk of future heart disease.
Researchers have found that there is a relationship between leisure boredom and mental and behavioral health. Specifically, Weissinger (1995) examined the effects of leisure boredom on self-reported health among college students. According to him, students who reported higher leisure boredom were not as healthy mentally or physically as those who were less bored. Leisure boredom has high correlations with drug use and delinquency (Iso-Ahola & Crowley, 1991) Very interestingly, they participated more frequently in leisure activities. It may be due to the arousal seeking personality type that substance abusers exhibit (Iso-Ahola & Crowley). Smith and Caldwell (1989) also reported that smokers are more bored than non-smokers. In addition, leisure boredom is correlated with an increase in criminal activities (Mukherjee & Dagger, 1990). As to the gender difference, males were more likely than females to report more active participation in leisure and less bored during their leisure time (Hickerson & Beggs, 2007). Other examples would include poor work and/or academic performance, self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol-related problems and drug use, and gambling (Blaszczynski, & Nower, 2002; Dahlen, Martin, Ragan, & Kuhlman, 2004; Gordon & Caltabiano, 1996: Sommers & Vodanovich, 2000; Wegner, Fisher, Muller, & Lombard, 2006).
Even though leisure participation is not necessarily an opposite construct of leisure boredom, examining studies related to leisure participation may also provide some insights regarding the relationship between self-esteem and leisure boredom. For example, a positive relationship between participation in leisure activities and self-esteem was confirmed by McNeal (1995). In his study, high school students who participated in any type of extracurricular activity tended to have higher self-esteem than those who did not participate in extracurricular activities.
Tiggermann (2001) also confirmed that there is a positive relationship between self-esteem and participating in organized sports among female adolescents. He also found that a negative relationship exists between self-esteem and hours spent watching television among the group. In Hickerson and Beggs’ study (2007), male college students were more likely involved in their leisure activities than female college students. Female students were most likely to select passive activities as their activity of choice. However, it should be noted that some of these study results described above may not be applied to young adult population particularly to college student groups primarily due to the age difference and also due to other complicate factors such as urban vs. rural, education level, climate, geographical features, and other cultural issues, etc.
Although no established theories exist regarding the relationship between self-esteem and leisure boredom, the theory of leisure motivation (Iso-Ahola, 1989) may support the relationship between the two variables. According to this theory, it can be assumed that people want to engage in leisure activities to escape from their interpersonal problems (e.g., poor social skills, peer rejection) and/or personal problems (e.g., leisure boredom, low self-esteem). At the same time, they want to obtain some personal and/or interpersonal rewards by engaging in (or seeking) leisure activities. That is, people who seek to actively engage in leisure activities may have more rewarding experiences such as increased popularity among peers (e.g., interpersonal reward) and increased social and/or leisure skills (e.g., intrapersonal reward). Those rewarding experiences are likely to lead to increased self-esteem. However, the theory of leisure motivation (Iso-Ahola) explains somewhat negative motivation for leisure and many other many other internal and external motivations for leisure should be explored, too.
This study included academic achievement as another study variable. As to the relationship between academic achievement and self-esteem among university students, Saracoglu, Minden, and Wilchesku (1989) reported that high academic achievement is associated with high self-esteem and high self-efficacy among university students while low academic achievement is associated with poor self-esteem and low self-efficacy. In Mohamad’s study (2010) with a university student sample, he found that there is significant positive relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement among the sample and moreover, there was significant difference in academic achievement between male and female students. However, no difference was found in self-esteem between male and female. In this study, while one’s grade point average (GPA) may not accurately reflect an individual’s academic achievement, GPA can be an indicator of one’s academic achievement. Thus, this study asked the respondents’ overall (cumulative) GPAs.
It should be noted that most studies regarding this relationship between self-esteem and other variables were conducted either among children/adolescents or people in clinical settings (Cashwell, 1995). In this study, a non-clinical young adult sample (e.g., university students) was selected. Thus, these relationships may not be applied to young adult populations.
There are a number of studies that examined some important leisure variables such as leisure participation and/or leisure satisfaction among college students. However, few research studies focused on leisure boredom among the population. Therefore, one of the main purposes of this study was to examine perceived leisure boredom among university students and its relationship with self-esteem. Furthermore, since no research on the relative importance of leisure boredom along with other influential variables such as peer relationship and family satisfaction. Therefore, the authors of this study attempted to determine whether or not leisure boredom plays a more important role than other psychological variables in the development of self-esteem. More specifically, this study examined the relationships between self-esteem and potential contributors including peer relationship, leisure boredom, family satisfaction, and academic achievement (i.e., GPA) among the young adult sample. The specific research objectives addressed were: (a) to examine young adults’ overall ratings of self-esteem; (b) to examine the relationships between self-esteem and the research variables; and (c) to identify significant contributors of self-esteem among the research variables. Again, the main questions of this study were “is leisure boredom associated with self-esteem?” and “is leisure boredom a significant predictor of self-esteem among the sample.
The results of this study should be relevant to leisure and recreation practitioners. First, leisure and recreation practitioners who work with young adults including college students can obtain information about the two research variables. Second, particularly, data about leisure boredom will provide valuable insights to leisure and recreation practitioners regarding how influential the participant’s leisure life is for his or her self-esteem and psychological well-being. Last, the study results related to leisure boredom will provide both educators and campus recreation personnel on campus with insights in terms of the provision of leisure and recreation programs for university students.
The study sample consisted of 405 university students who enrolled in summer session at a large Midwestern university. The respondents were almost evenly distributed with 53.5% being female. The mean age of the respondents was 23.35. The mean GPA for the respondents was 3.12 out of 4.00. Participants were predominantly Caucasians (77.8%,
n=316) followed by Asian and Pacific Islanders (8.9%, n=36), Black (8.1%, n=32), and Hispanic (1.2%, n=5). A total of 15 of the participants did not identify their race (3.7%, n=15). Since this study was conducted during a summer session, there were few low division introductory level courses that were designed especially for Freshmen ( n=7) and Sophomore students ( n=45). Thus, the majority of the participants consisted of either seniors ( n=175) or juniors ( n=109). Of the 405 participants, 148 were from the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) and 126 were from the College of Arts and Sciences. Other participants ( n=131) were from business ( n=55), education ( n=42), music ( n=15), and fine arts ( n=10). The remaining nine respondents had not declared their majors.
The questionnaire was comprised of the following scales: (a) Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), (b) Leisure Boredom Scale (LBS), (c) Kansas Family Life Satisfaction Scale (KFLS), and (d) Index of Peer Relations (IPR). And demographic questionnaires included major, gender, GPA scores, class standing, age, and racial status.
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE) is a unidimensional 10-item Guttman scale on which participants identify the degree to which they agree or disagree with each statement on a 4-point Likert scale. It was originally designed (Rosenberg, 1965) to measure the self-esteem of high school students. Since its development, the scale has been used with a number of other groups including adults with a variety of occupations. One of its greatest strengths is the amount of research that has been conducted with a wide range of groups on this scale over the years. The RSE has a Guttman Scale Coefficient of reproducibility of .92 indicating high level of internal consistency. Two studies (Rosenberg,1979) of two-week test-retest reliability show correlations of .85 and .88. Research demonstrated the concurrent, predictive, and construct validity of the RSE (Rosenberg). For instance, the RSE correlates significantly with other self-esteem measures such as the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (Rosenberg & Pearlin, 1978). Similarly, the RSE correlates in predicted directions with measures of depression, anxiety, and peer-group reputation (Rosenberg & Pearlin). Some examples of the items are “On the whole, I am satisfied with myself,” “I feel that I have a number of good qualities,” and “I take a positive attitude toward myself.”
The Leisure Boredom Scale (LBS) (Iso-Ahola & Weissinger, 1990) is a 16-item scale to measure respondents’ subjective perceptions of leisure. The LBS is scored on a 1-5 Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree), with higher numbers reflecting higher leisure boredom. Examples of the items are “leisure time is boring,” “I waste too much of my leisure time sleeping,” and “For me, leisure time just drags on and on.” Scores are summed to obtain a total score between 16 (minimum) and 80 (maximum). Previous studies have shown that the LBS is a reliable and valid assessment scale. Iso-Ahola and Weissinger used the LBS to investigate leisure boredom among college students in three studies. They reported acceptable levels of Chronbach’s alpha coefficients of the LBS (α= .85, .88, .86) in each study. Iso-Ahola and Weissinger also reported the construct validity for the LBS and the scale correlated in the hypothesized manner with measures of theoretically meaningful constructs such as social competence (negative), self-as-self-entertainment (negative), intrinsic leisure motivation (negative), self-esteem (negative), and leisure satisfaction (negative).
Family satisfaction was measured using the Kansas Family Life Satisfaction Scale (KFLS). This is one of the few available family satisfaction measures, and can be easily completed in less than three minutes. The KFLS was designed to be used in interview or questionnaire format with families consisting of a mother, father, and preferably at least two adolescents. (Shumm, Jurich, & Bollman, 1986). This instrument is a 4-item instrument designed to assess satisfaction with four types of family relationships. Specifically, the KFLS has one question regarding overall satisfaction with family life (e.g., “how satisfied are you with your family life?) and three sub-questions of family relationships. Those three sub-questions are: (a) “how satisfied are you with your parents’ relationship with each other?” (b) “How satisfied are you with your relationship with your parent(s)?” and (c) “how satisfied are you with your relationship with your brother(s) and/or sister(s)?” The KFLS is easily scored by adding up the scores for each item for a potential range of 4 to 28 (7-point Likert-type scale; 1 = extremely dissatisfied, to 7 = extremely satisfied). Although the reliability and validity of the KFLS for college students has not been reported, the KFLS has good internal consistency, with alphas that range from .79 to .83. It has good construct validity by correlating with measures with which it should theoretically correlate. For example, the KFLS significantly correlates with constructs such as quality of life and life satisfaction (Schumm, et al., 1986). One limitation of this instrument is that some of today’s families do not follow the traditional definition of family and may not have parents and siblings. For those cases, the average scores (sum of the four scores / number of answered items) were entered for data analysis.
Lastly, peer relation was measured using the Index of Peer Relation (IPR), which is a 25-item instrument designed to measure the extent, severity, or magnitude of a problem the respondent has with peers (Hudson, 1992). The IPR can be used as a global measure of relationship problems with peers. Respondents rate the items on a 7-point scale, ranging from “1 = none of the time” to “7 = all of the time.” Scores range between 25 (minimum) and 175 (maximum). Low scores indicate better peer relationships while high scores means more peer problems. The IPR includes items such as “I hate my present peer group,” “My peers don’t seem to even notice me,” and “My peers seem to look down on me.” The IPR has a mean alpha of .94 indicating excellent internal consistency. The IPR also has excellent known-group validity (Hudson). The Known-group validity was established by comparing two groups (i.e., a client group and therapist group) on peer relations. As expected, the client group showed significantly higher peer relationship problems than did the therapist group (Hudson).
Upon the receipt of human subject approval from the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects at the Midwestern university, the classroom lists, room numbers, and e-mail address and names of instructors were obtained from the Office of the Registrar. Subsequently, the researcher contacted each instructor through the use of electronic mail and asked permission to give the questionnaire to students enrolled in each class. After permission from the course instructors was provided, the researchers arranged times to administer the survey.
Of 55 course instructors who were initially contacted, 20 provided their permission for the researcher to conduct this study in their class. Potential participants were verbally given information on the nature and purpose of the study and invited to participate. Participants were solicited to fill out the questionnaires. The administration was voluntary and participants were told their answers would be anonymous. The time required for the subjects to finish the questionnaires ranged between approximately 10 to 30 minutes. The survey packets were distributed and collected by the researcher.
The statistical program SPSS was used to analyze the data. Data were first reviewed for missing data and examined for outliers. Descriptive statistics (e.g., means, percentiles, SD) were calculated to examine the demographic characteristics (e.g., age, gender, class standing, age, racial status) of the sample, along with the research variables (e.g., GPA score, peer relationship, leisure boredom, and family satisfaction). Data were analyzed first through examining Pearson product-moment zero-order correlation coefficients between the independent variables and the dependent variable and muticollinearity was checked. Cronbach’s alpha tests were conducted to explore the reliability of the measures (e.g., peer relationship, leisure boredom, and family satisfaction).
Multiple regression analysis was used to predict self-esteem. In this study, a standard regression model was used in order to identify relationships among variables and the relative contribution of each variable to self-esteem. The dependent variable of self-esteem was regressed on the independent variables (i.e., peer relation, leisure boredom, family satisfaction, and overall GPA score) for the data set. For the regression model, the multiple correlation coefficients were examined at the .05 alpha level.
Based on the descriptive statistics in Table 2, a number of important observations can be made. First, the majority of respondents in this study appeared to have high levels of self-esteem. Specifically, the subjects showed a mean of 31.76 out of potential maximum score of 40 (
SD= 4.73). Second, the respondents appeared to have good relationships with their peers. The mean score of the respondents on peer relation was 143.57 out of the maximum score of 175 ( SD= 19.38), indicating they have positive relationships with their peers either “a good part of their time” or “most of their time.” Third, respondents also reported that they did not usually feel bored in their leisure. The mean score of Leisure Boredom Scale (LBS) rated by the respondents was 32.80 ( SD= 8.12) out of the potential maximum score of 80 . This indicates that the respondents were not bored, but not particularly satisfied, either. Finally, the respondents indicated satisfactory family lives to some extent. The overall mean score of the KFLS was 5.55 out of 7 ( SD= 1.43) that ranged between “somewhat satisfied” and “satisfied.” Mean score values for the four subscales of the KFLS also indicated that the respondents were either “somewhat satisfied” or “satisfied” with their family lives.
Table 3 presents zero-order correlations between self-esteem and selected variables including demographic variables. In terms of the relationship between the dependent variable (e.g., self-esteem) and independent variables in this study, significant correlation coefficients were found with three research variables: peer-relationship, leisure boredom, and family satisfaction.
First, peer relationship showed a significant positive correlation with self-esteem among the respondents (
r=.41, p<.01). It indicated that students who maintain positive peer relationships tend to have high self-esteem. Second, leisure boredom showed a significant negative association with self-esteem ( r=-.37, p<.01) indicating that respondents who experience boredom in their leisure time are more likely to have low self-esteem. Another variable that demonstrated a significant positive correlation with self-esteem was family satisfaction ( r=.22, p<.01). Students who are satisfied with their relationships with their families are more likely to report higher self-esteem than those who are not satisfied with their families. Interestingly, GPA score was not associated with self-esteem in this study sample.
Following the examination of bivariate relationships, a standard multiple regression analysis was performed to identify significant multivariate predictors of self-esteem. Self-esteem was regressed on the four research variables (Overall GPA scores, peer relationship, leisure boredom, and family satisfaction). Three variables were found to be significant predictors of self-esteem in this sample. Peer relationship (
b= .750, p<.01) was identified as a most significant predictor of self-esteem followed by leisure boredom( b= -.159, p<.01), and family satisfaction ( b= .527, p<.01). Multiple R was .509 and adj R² was .25 (Table 4). In sum, in multivariable analysis, students who reported positive peer relationships and low leisure boredom, and who were satisfied with their family lives, were more likely to experience higher self-esteem.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between self-esteem and four study variables (peer relationship, leisure boredom, family satisfaction, and GPA). First of all, this study found that this group of university students possesses positive self-esteem and they are satisfied with their family and leisure lives, and with their peer relationships. However, no relationship was found between self-esteem and GPA. In particular, the level of leisure boredom (
M=2.05), which is the main variable in this study, among this study population was very similar to that ( M=2.14) of a previous study (Hickerson and Beggs’s study, 2007). Thus, it appears that college students experience only moderate to low levels of leisure boredom. However, in a sense, since the college years are regarded as a time for freedom, excitement, and exploration for new leisure activities, the level of leisure boredom identified in this study maybe interpreted as relatively high when considering all these stimulating circumstance
It is interesting to see that peer relationships showed highest correlation with self-esteem. More interestingly, leisure boredom showed higher correlation with self-esteem than family satisfaction. That is, the respondents in this study felt that their social life with their friends and their perceptions about leisure time boredom were more important factors than family satisfaction and their GPA scores. The finding that there is no relationship between GPA scores and self-esteem is somewhat contradictory with other previous studies. For instance, a study conducted by Michie, Glachan, and Bray (2001) revealed that college students who reported positive academic self-concept felt more confident in their own evaluation of their ability and also expressed greater self-esteem and satisfaction with college life. However, a more recent study (Hickerson & Beggs, 2007) found that there was no significant difference between leisure boredom and level of educational competency. Therefore, relationship between these two variables needs to be further examined in future studies and some possible mediator variables that might enhance the respondents’ self-esteem who reported low GPA scores need to be examined.
The results of the zero-order correlations are also confirmed in the examination of multivariate relationships. First, among the respondents, peer relationship was found to be the most significant predictor of self-esteem. The strong relationship between peer relationship and self-esteem was found in several studies that dealt with adolescents and children. For example, Bolger, Patterson, and Kupersmidt (1998) reported that difficulties in peer relationships were significantly related with low self-esteem and maltreatment. Gillian’s (1999) study also found that peer support and relationships influence young people’s psychological health such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, and locus of control. At any rate, this finding also suggests that among this group of university students, relationships with peers is the most important predictor to their self-esteem. It may not be surprising that peer relationship was a stronger predictor of self-esteem than family satisfaction. because it is very common that university students are physically away from their homes and do not usually have direct everyday interactions with their family members. In contrast, they interact with their peers as a routine and the interactions with their peers are essential component of their campus life and social well-being.
Perceptions about leisure boredom were the second strongest predictor of self-esteem in this study. The negative beta coefficients in Table 4 indicate that higher levels of self-esteem were associated with lower levels of boredom in leisure. Alternatively, it can be said that higher levels of boredom were associated with lower levels of self-esteem. A number of studies report psychological ramifications associated with higher levels of boredom. Boredom has been reported to be significantly related to depression, anxiety, hopelessness, loneliness, hostility, alienation, and even borderline personality disorder(Farmer & Sundberg, 1986; Tolor, 1989; Vodanovich, Verner, & Gilbride, 1991). Significant negative correlations have been reported between boredom and purpose in life (Weinstein, Xie, & Cleanthous, 1995) and life satisfaction (Watt & Ewing, 1996). That is, bored people are less likely to have clear purpose in their lives and less satisfied with their lives. Further, Bargdill (2000) found that feelings of emptiness were also part of boredom and the bored participants also tend to have a negative view of the future. Based on this research evidence, the experience of boredom can be more than an issue of self-esteem. It can be potential problems in other psychological domains that need future research attention. Lastly, family satisfaction was identified as the third important variable. Thus, it should be noted that although many students are physically independent or away from their family members, the relationships with their family members still influence the students’ self-esteem.
Several implications and recommendations for practice may be provided from this study. First, this study confirmed the importance of peer relationships, leisure, and family satisfaction to one’s self-esteem. In particular, as stated previously, peer relationship was the strongest predictor of young adult’s self-esteem among the research variables. Social skills are an essential prerequisite to healthy peer relationships. Thus, leisure and recreation practitioners may need to provide recreation programs that promote social skills to enhance young adults’ self-esteem. According to Sylvester, Voelkl, and Ellis (2001), social skills addresses overt social behaviors (e.g., verbal and nonverbal communications) and cognitive processes (e.g., problem solving skills, role playing skills). In particular, frustration-tolerance skills, anger management skills, conflict resolution skills, and impulse control have been reported as effective training programs for the development of social skills (Allen, Paisley, Stevenson, & Harwell, 1998).
This study also indicates that perceived leisure boredom was the second strongest predictor of young adults’ self-esteem among the research variables. According to Iso-Ahola and Weissinger (1990), lack of leisure awareness contributes to leisure boredom. Also, lack of leisure skills and leisure resources may lead to leisure boredom. Therefore, leisure education focused on the development of these leisure-related attitudes, knowledge, and skills about a variety of activities, developing leisure repertoire, and utilizing various leisure resources may be essential component of promoting young adults’ self-esteem. According to Stumbo and Peterson (2004), a cognitive understanding of leisure, a positive attitude toward leisure, leisure skills, and the ability to utilize resources are significant aspects of satisfying leisure involvement. That is, a purposeful leisure education program can play a role of promoting one’s satisfying leisure life that possibly leads to one’s positive self-esteem.
According to Passmore’s (2001) qualitative study, positive leisure experiences provide opportunities which support and promote young people’s mental health such as competence, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Particularly, achievement-oriented leisure and social leisure significantly influence mental health while solitary activities demonstrate a significant, but negative association with mental health. Her findings support the importance of provision of constructive leisure time activities that enhance positive peer and/or family relationships. Therefore, in order to enhance self-esteem of young adult clients, leisure and recreation practitioners should carefully design and facilitate leisure time activities that promote social interactions with their friends and family members. However, for the study participants (i.e., university students), focus should be on leisure and recreation programs that promote social interaction among the participants.
The study results also provide educators and staff both in the U.S.A. and Korea who are involved in campus recreation in higher education. In particular, campus recreation (or intramural sports) personnel need to understand the impact of campus recreation and programs on college students’ psychological well-being including self-esteem. In particular, it is assumed that in Korea, a relatively low level of campus recreation program opportunities and programs for students are available compared to those of colleges in the U.S.A.
Therefore, examination of college students’ involvements in leisure time activities, level of leisure time boredom, and its importance to psychological variables such as self-esteem, quality of life, subjective well-being can be interesting agendas for future research in Korea. Along with these study agendas, an equally important agenda would be to examine the types and nature of leisure activities pursued by Korean college students. Comparison studies on leisure boredom level, activity participation level, and types of leisure time activities between the two countries would also be of interest of researchers in both countries.
Another implication is related to the provision of campus recreation programs for colleges in Korea. Campus recreation including intramural sports in the U.S.A. is a major outlet for college students to participate in a variety of meaningful leisure time activities and physical activities. However, it is a reality that only limited opportunities to campus recreation and/or sport participation is provided to college students in Korea. It will be a challenging but important task for administrators of college in Korea to allocate funds, to employ personnel, and build facilities for the sake of students’ recreational opportunities and well-being.
Despite the interesting results of this study, some methodological issues must be considered when interpreting the results. First, the study design does not allow for discussion of any cause-and-effect relationships. Second, the study results are limited to university students in the U.S.A. Therefore, it is recommended that, for further research, studies that involve college students in Korea need to be conducted.
[Table 1] Sample Characteristics
[Table 2] Summary of Descriptive Statistics for Research Variables
[Table 3] Zero-order Correlations between Self-Esteem and the Independent Variables
[Table 4] Standard Multiple Regression Model of Self-Esteem