Study Links Too Much Free Time to Lower Sense of Wellbeing

The lesson of Goldilocks, that one can have too much of a good thing, even when it comes to the size of a chair, has applied in fields from astrobiology to economics. Now, it seems it may even govern our free time.

Researchers have found that while levels of subjective wellbeing initially rise as free time increases, the trend does not necessarily hold for very high levels of leisure.

“The sweet spot is a moderate amount of free time,” said Dr Marissa Sharif, a co-author of the study from the University of Pennsylvania. “We found that having too much time was associated with lower subjective wellbeing due to a lacking sense of productivity and purpose.”

Writing in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Sharif and colleagues reported how they analysed results from two large-scale surveys, involving a combined total of more than 35,000 participants.

One was the American Time Use Survey, which was carried out between 2012 and 2013 and asked participants what they had done in the past 24 hours.

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Source: the Guardian