College-attending emerging adults’ free time perception profiles: Relationships with well-being and identity development


Leisure is an important developmental context during emerging adulthood because of its inherent freedom, opportunity for challenge, and potential for identity exploration. The nature of leisure is often linked with different developmental pathways surrounding well-being and identity. This quantitative study collected free time perceptions, well-being, and identity measures from college-attending emerging adults (n = 565). Using a clustering approach, participants were grouped based on four free time perceptions measures (awareness, boredom, challenge, distress) and then compared for differences in self-esteem, depression, and identity commitment and exploration. Groupings were named based on unique free time profiles, including mastering, restoring, stagnating, and struggling during free time. Each group had significantly different perceptions of free time awareness and boredom, and groups differed in well-being and identity scores, although not exclusively. Results show the importance of addressing free time perceptions, particularly cognitive (awareness) and affective (boredom) attitudes and inform leisure-based programming and marketing on college campuses.


Recreation Management and Policy

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Leisure Research


Taylor & Francis

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Document Type