After the bell: adolescents' organised leisure-time activities and well-being in the context of social and socioeconomic inequalities

Petr Badura (Coresponding Author), Zdenek Hamrik, Maxim Dierckens, Inese Gobiņa, Marta Malinowska-Cieślik, Jana Furstova, Jaroslava Kopcakova, William Pickett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Previous research has linked adolescents' participation in organised leisure-time activities (OLTAs) to better health and well-being. It remains unclear whether these associations can be observed consistently across social and socioeconomic strata and countries.

METHODS: The present study used nine nationally representative samples of adolescents aged 11, 13 and 15 years (total n=55 429) from the 2017/2018 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey from Europe and Canada. Regression models with mixed effects to account for nested nature of data were applied to estimate: (1) the associations of social and socioeconomic factors with OLTA participation; (2) strengths of the associations between breadth and pattern of OLTA participation with health and well-being indicators, after adjustment for the social and socioeconomic factors.

RESULTS: Rates of OLTA participation varied by age, sex and country of adolescents. Participants from lower socioeconomic classes and non-nuclear families were less likely to participate in OLTAs across each of the nine countries. Moreover, breadth of OLTA participation was associated with higher well-being independent of socioeconomic status or family structure. All of the participation patterns were associated with higher life satisfaction, but sports (either alone or in combination with a non-sport OLTA) were also associated with fewer psychological complaints and excellent self-rated health.

CONCLUSION: Adolescents' engagement in OLTAs was associated with adolescents' subjective well-being regardless of country, age, sex and variance in social and socioeconomic factors. Policies aimed at increasing adolescents' subjective well-being and OLTA participation should focus on adolescents from low socioeconomic classes and non-nuclear families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-636
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2021

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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