Structured Leisure Activities (SLA) and Adolescent Alcohol Use
The Laboratory for Prevention Research (ERF UNIZG, Croatia) conducted a project entitled 'Quality of Leisure Time as a Protective Factor for the Development of Behavioural Problems' to examine the influence of structured leisure time on adolescents' engagement in risk behaviours. Leisure time can be an important context for positive adolescent development, but it can also be a context that leads them to engage in risk behaviours. This paper aims to determine the extent to which adolescents' frequency of participation in structured leisure activities (SLA), perceptions of context, motivational factors, and the experience of participating in SLA contribute to adolescents' alcohol use. Participants were 14-21 years old (M = 18.87, SD = 1.23) and 44.8% of participants were female. The Questionnaire of youth leisure time, the Context of Participation in Leisure Activities, the Free Time Motivation Scale for Adolescents, the Youth Experience Survey, and the CTC Youth Survey were used for the study. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted. Results show that external motivation, identified motivation, teamwork and social skills experiences, positive relationship experiences, adult networks and social capital experiences, and negative experiences had a significant main effect on lifetime prevalence of alcohol use among adolescents. In addition, external motivation, safety, identity experiences, initiative experiences, and positive relationship experiences significantly contribute to the monthly prevalence of adolescent alcohol use. This suggests that we need to invest resources in the development of SLA, taking into account the motivation, context, and developmental experiences that contribute to participation in SLA, not just the setting of the activities themselves, if we are to support leisure as an important context for preventing risk behaviours among adolescents. Some of the features of SLA that promote positive adolescent development and prevent adolescent alcohol use will be discussed in more detail in the presentation.