Extracurricular activities, graduate attributes and serious leisure: competitive sport versus social-cultural clubs in campus life

Taylor & Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Leisure Studies, 2023, ahead-of-print, (ahead-of-print), pp. 1-18
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Research indicates that students’ participation in university-based extracurricular activities contributes to their graduate attributes such as leadership, teamwork, communication and resilience. However, it has yet to be determined which types of extracurricular activities are more impactful. This study inquired if participation in competitive sporting activities compared to social-cultural clubs have a greater impact on graduate attributes. Students attending a large metropolitan university in Sydney, Australia, who participated in extracurricular activities were surveyed (n = 844) with an instrument adapted to measure their degree of club engagement and questions on the skills, knowledge and experience they acquired. The findings indicate that engagement in competitive sport is more effective at contributing to graduate attributes when compared to social-cultural clubs. The study drew on the theories of serious leisure and leisure constraints to interpret this phenomenon. Participation in competitive sport was found to relate to more aspects of serious leisure such as study/work-life balance, stress reduction and skill development such as teamwork, time management and leadership skills. However, there are greater constraints to participating in competitive sport. The study concludes with implications for university administrators and recommendations for facilitating greater student opportunities to participate in all types of extracurricular activities.
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