This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Assessing the Social and Developmental Significance of Young Adolescent's Shared Leisure Activities




Tuggle, Felicia

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


The Core and Balance Model of Family Functioning (Johnson, Zabriskie, & Hill, 2206; Smith, Freeman, and Zabriskie, 2009) was used as a conceptual framework for exploring ways in which shared leisure activities with close friends and dating partners offer early adolescents an interpersonal context to develop satisfying relationships, build interpersonal competence, and engage in identity processing work through relationship behaviors (communication and emotional support). The Core and Balance Model of Family Functioning suggests there are two interrelated categories of leisure involvement which families use to facilitate outcomes of cohesion and adaptability. The largely African American sample (71%) ranged from age 11-15 with a mean age of 13. Results indicated that relationship behaviors (communication and emotional support) within close peer relationships matter for young adolescents’ satisfaction within these relationships, as well as for their broader social competence and identity work. Core shared leisure activities with friends and dating partners were positively associated with communication and emotional support within relationships. In contrast, balance leisure activities were negatively associated with the communication and emotional support within the close peer relationships. Relationship behaviors directly predicted relationship satisfaction, interpersonal competence, and identity work and mediated associations between core leisure activities and relationship satisfaction. Limited moderation by gender and relationship type (close friend versus dating partner) were found. Core activities were most beneficial for developing satisfying relationships, building interpersonal competence, and engaging in identity work.