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British Journal of Guidance &

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Work, leisure and well-being
John Haworth; Suzan Lewis

Online Publication Date: 01 February 2005

To cite this Article: Haworth, John and Lewis, Suzan (2005) 'Work, leisure and
well-being', British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 33:1, 67 — 79
To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/03069880412331335902


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British Journal of Guidance & Counselling,
Vol. 33, No. 1, Febtuary 2005
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Work, leisure and well-being

Centre for Social Change and Well-being, Manchester Metropolitan University,
Manchester, UK; e-mail:

ABSTRACT Both work and leisure are essential for well-being. Yet the ways in which we conceptualise
work, leisure and well-being are in flux, reflecting, in part, the changing societal, economic and
community contexts in which work and leisure take place. This paper first discusses the contested
nature of work and leisure in relation to well-being, and then considers current evidence concerning the
ways in which work and leisure are experienced in contemporary society. The emerging issues are then
discussed drawing on two international studies which indicate the increasingly global nature of these
concerns. The pervasiveness of the trend towards intensification of work, reducing time and energy for
other activities, and the gendered impact of this trend are evident in both studies. Many commentators
have noted the negative effects of current working patterns on well-being. Finally, some implications
for guidance and counselling as well as future research, are explored.

Both work and leisure are essential for well-being (Bryce & Haworth, 2002, 2003;
Haworth, 1997; Iso-Ahola, 1997; Iso-Ahola & Mannell, 2004; Lewis & Cooper,
1988; Warr, 1987, 1999). Yet despite a very substantial literature on work family (or /

more recently, work life) balance or integration and well-being (Lewis & Cooper,

1988; Rothbard, 2001; Ruderman et al., 2002), there has been relatively little explicit
focus on the work leisure interface. The meanings and experiences of work and

leisure change at the societal level over different periods of history, as they do at an
individual level over the life course. In the 1970s an increase in leisure was widely
predicted as a consequence of developments in technology. However, this has not
occurred. If anything it is work that appears to be squeezing out leisure in many
contexts (Lewis, 2003a; Taylor, 2002).
Commentators argue that profound transformations in the nature and organisa-
tion of work are occurring with potentially far-reaching social and economic
consequences (Bauman, 1998; Sennett, 1998). Many organisations are introducing
new technologies and working practices, demanding greater flexibility in response to
the pressures of competition and the global 24-hour market place in the private
sector and efficiency drives in the public sector. In some organisations flexibility of
working practices are being coupled with policies purporting to support the
integration of work and non-work life, sometimes in response to new attitudes,

ISSN 0306-9885/print/ISSN 1469-3534/online/05/010067-13 # 2005 Careers Research and Advisory Centre

DOI: 10.1080/03069880412331335902
68 John Haworth & Suzan Lewis
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values and aspirations of key workers; but also to enhance creativity, improve
company loyalty, and reduce absenteeism and turnover (Lewis, 2003b). Yet many
employees are experiencing long working hours, intensified workloads, constantly
changing work practices, and job insecurity (Burchall et al., 1999). Stress at work
and home is viewed as a major problem (Sparks et al., 1997; Worral & Cooper,
2001). At the same time, major social differentiation exists in relation to gender,
class, occupation and other aspects of diversity (Taylor, 2001, 2002), with resources
in Western societies being increasingly unequally distributed, and significant
variations arising in health, well-being and quality of life (Wilkinson, 1996, 2000).
In this context the meanings and concepts of work and leisure are being re-appraised,
and the relationships between work, leisure, social structure and well-being have
emerged as challenging concerns for researchers, educators and policy makers
(Haworth & Veal, 2004)
This paper first discusses the contested nature of work and leisure in relation to
well-being and then considers current evidence concerning the ways in which work
and leisure are experienced in contemporary society. The emerging issues are then
discussed drawing on two international studies, which indicate the increasingly
global nature of these concerns. Finally, some implications for guidance and
counselling as well as future research are explored.

What is work?
Work is usually considered to be paid employment. However, ‘work’ includes not
only paid work, but also unpaid work including domestic and childcare work and
voluntary work. Work has often been equated with labour, in line with the Protestant
view that work was of service to God. Yet, as noted in Haworth and Smith (1975,
p. 1), if ‘a restricted definition of work is used, such as ‘‘to earn a living’’, this can
equally restrict the constructs which are used to study work and thus have important
theoretical significance. Practically, it may encourage the attitude in management,
trade unions and employees, that work need not be a meaningful experience’.
Work is important to human functioning. Kohn and Schooler (1983) indicate
that where work has substantive complexity there is an improvement in mental
flexibility and self-esteem. Csikszentmihalyi and Le Fevre (1989), studying ‘optimal
experience’ or ‘flow’ in a range of occupations, found that this came more from work
than leisure. The historian of work, Applebaum (1992, p. 1), considered that ‘Work
is like the spine which structures the way people live, how they make contact with
material and social reality, and how they achieve status and self-esteem. Work is basic
to the human condition, to the creation of the human environment, and to the
context of human relationships’. In modern society, paid work has been found to be
important for well-being. Nevertheless, paid work is only one aspect of life and there
is mounting evidence that multiple roles have the potential to create multiple sources
of satisfaction (Barnett, 1998; Edwards & Rothbard, 2000; Frone et al., 1997;
Greenhaus & Parasuraman, 1999; Marks, 1977; Ruderman et al., 2002; Sieber,
Work, leisure and well-being 69
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What is leisure?
Leisure can be defined in a number of ways, for example, as time left over from work
or activities engaged in for intrinsic satisfaction. Today, the so-called ‘residual’
definition of leisure, that is, time, which is not occupied by paid work, unpaid work
or personal chores and obligations, is widely accepted in research (Roberts, 1999,
p. 5). However, Roberts (1999, p. 23) notes that the residual definition of leisure
proves difficult to apply to the unemployed and retired, as well as among women,
regardless of their employment status. He also recognises that technological,
economic and social changes in society impact on leisure, making it ‘necessary to
ask repeatedly whether we need revise our notions about what leisure is’ (p. 5). This
is particularly complex when considering work that is absorbing and identity
affirming, where the boundaries between activities that can be considered work or
leisure are blurred (Lewis, 2003a).
Consequently, many researchers study leisure experientially, focusing on
dimensions of positive experience, such as intrinsic motivation and autonomy, and
enjoyment (Haworth, 1997; Iso-Ahola, 1980; Mannell & Kleiber, 1997; Neulinger,
1981; Stebbins, 1998; Thompson et al., 2002). It is therefore important to recognise
that both residual and experiential definitions of leisure are important.
A distinction can also be made between serious leisure and other forms of
leisure. For example, Stebbins (2004) discusses serious leisure, volunteerism and
quality of life. His research shows that extended engagement in absorbing leisure
activities, which require effort, can provide a range of rewards. But there are also
costs involved, which entail a commitment to the pursuit. Rewards and costs may be
an integral part of the social world and identity associated with the pursuit, which
would require the confidence and social skills necessary to participate in activity.
Stebbins argues that an optimal leisure lifestyle includes both serious and ‘unserious’
leisure, which is characterised as comprising immediately intrinsically rewarding,
relatively short-lived pleasurable activity requiring little or no special training.

The study of both work and leisure has been important for research into well-being.
Warr (1987, 1999) identified several situational factors, or environmentally afforded
categories of experience, such as opportunity for control, which interact with
personal factors in their influence on well-being. Haworth et al. (1997) showed the
important role played by enjoyment in this interaction. Enjoyment in both leisure
and work is important for well-being, and even in work it is not just an optional extra
(Bryce & Haworth, 2002). Delle Fave and Massimini (2003) note that creative
activities in leisure, work, and social interaction can give rise to ‘flow’ or ‘optimal’
experiences. These experiences foster individual development and an increase in
skills in the lifelong cultivation of specific interests and activities. Haworth (1997)
noted the diversity of individual experience and requirements, and argued that this is
not merely a function of rational knowledge, but is built into the bodily fibre of
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experience and social networks of practice reflecting both the social and temporal
nature of human endeavour.
The conceptualisation of well-being, like those of work and leisure, is also
contested and is shifting from a concern with stress and illness to a focus on positive
experiences. In the USA, a new focus on ‘positive psychology’ is concerned with
factors leading to well-being, positive individuals and to flourishing corporations and
communities (American Psychologist, 2000; Kahneman et al., 1999; Snyder & Lopez,
2000; website Positive psychology at the subjective
level is about positive experience: well-being, optimism, hope, happiness, and flow.
At the individual level it is about the character strengths* the capacity for love and

vocation, courage, interpersonal skill, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness,

originality, future-mindedness, and genius. At the group level it is about the civic
virtues and the institutions that move individuals toward better citizenship: leader-
ship, responsibility, parenting, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, and work
The Economic and Social Research Council in the UK recently funded a
transdisciplinary series of four invitational seminars on ‘Well-being: situational and
personal determinants’ (Haworth et al., 2001). The aim was to address positive
outcomes, and how best to realise them, the objective being to complement the
emphasis of research on stress and ill health. The seminars concluded that social
position significantly influences access to resources, well-being and health in the UK.
Wellness appears to be achieved by the simultaneous and balanced satisfaction of
personal, interpersonal and collective needs, and by a therapeutic relationship with
natural, built and social environments. It was recognised that there are cultural and
social group differences in perceptions of well-being, and factors influencing
well-being; and that there are global level prerequisites for societal and individual
well-being, including a reduction of poverty and inequality across the world.
Thus the ways in which we conceptualise work, leisure and well-being are in
flux, reflecting, in part, the changing societal, economic and community contexts in
which work and leisure take place.

Leisure and work today

The amount of a person’s total waking life-time spent in non-work activities is now
greater than the amount spent in paid work (Veal, 1987, p. 16), so the importance of
leisure for people’s lives should not be underestimated or obscured by the focus on
paid work at certain points in the life course. Indeed a recent government report in
the UK, Life Satisfaction: the State of Knowledge and Implications for Government
(Donovan et al., 2002), cited strong links between work satisfaction and overall life
satisfaction, and also between active leisure activities and overall satisfaction. The
report noted the case for government intervention to boost life satisfaction, by
encouraging a more leisured work life balance.

Gratton and Taylor (2004) provide an economic perspective on the changing

relationship between work and leisure over recent years. The economic theory of
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‘income/leisure trade-off’ posits that work and leisure time operate in connected
markets, mediated in particular by the wage rate: workers choose more or less work
depending on their own desires and needs and on the going wage rate* that is, what

employers will pay the worker to give up an hour of leisure time. The changes seen in
work patterns in Britain over recent years do not, however, conform to the
predictions of the trade-off model. Gratton and Taylor conclude that the model, as
normally promulgated, is too simplistic and ignores the power of employers in the
market situation and the social realities of the labour market.
Reviewing the changes that have taken place in work and the economy, in the
family and social structure, and in leisure and culture in Britain, over the last 25
years, Critcher and Bramham (2004) conclude that the analysis of Clarke and
Critcher (1985) stands the test of time. Changes in the labour market have been such
that increasing productivity and wealth have failed to produce the anticipated across-
the-board increase in prosperity and leisure time, but have resulted in a growing
division between those with highly skilled and paid and pressurised jobs and the
casualised and marginalised. Moreover, changes in family and household structures
and patterns of child-bearing and rearing have not, Critcher and Bramham argue,
dislodged the family or household unit as the major site for leisure.
However, the experiences of leisure and unpaid work in the household are not
gender neutral. Kay (2001) argues that within households, the capacity of male and
female partners to individually exercise choice in leisure is highly contingent upon
explicit or implicit negotiation between them. Many studies have shown that, even
when both partners are working, women still make a significantly greater contribu-
tion to domestic tasks, and there are key differences between men’s ability to preserve
personal leisure time, and the much more limited capacity of women to do so. This
replicates traditional gender ideologies and indicates a divide in men and women’s
approaches to reconciling the interests of ‘self’ with those of ‘family’. As individuals,
men and women appear to give different priority to the work, family, leisure domains
of their collective life, while simultaneously striving to achieve a mutually satisfying
joint lifestyle. Kay argues that leisure is a significant domain of relative freedom and a
primary site in which men and women can actively construct responses to social
change. She considers that the recognition of this can contribute, at both a
conceptual and empirical level, to a holistic understanding of contemporary lived
experience; but that it raises the question about the extent to which we can
realistically talk of families, collectively, being equipped to resolve the work life /

Gender plays a key role in patterns of work and leisure, and the impacts of
contemporary ways of working are often different for men and women. Paid work is
increasingly dominating many people’s lives, for both men and women (Lewis et al.,
2003; Perlow, 1999). Although excessive workloads can be experienced as
oppressive, for many people work is what they apparently choose to spend their
time on and enjoy doing. Moreover, the boundaries between work and non-work are,
for many, becoming fuzzier and may be crowding out time and energy for personal
life and leisure. In this context we may ask whether post-industrial work is the new
leisure, viewed as an activity of choice and a source of enjoyment (Lewis, 2003a). For
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example, a study of accountants indicated that the dominance of work over other
activities was often seen as a life-choice, particularly amongst men where intense
work involvement may be linked to professional identity (Lewis et al., 2002). Yet it is
important to recognise the complex interplay between social norms, the attribution
of choice, and the perception of satisfaction and enjoyment.
Occupational identity is constructed within a given social context; and there is a
danger that explanations of the dominance of paid work in people’s lives which focus
on the individual tend to underestimate the constraints under which choices and
identities are constructed. Thus, in accountancy, as in other professions, working
long hours to please the client becomes identity affirming. But this is a highly
gendered view that promotes work patterns based on assumptions of traditional male
provider families and excludes substantial involvement in family care or other
activities. Equally, women often feel less ‘free’ to choose to work long hours because
of family commitments. Male gendered views of work also leads to the assumption of
inevitability, so that the possibility of working in other ways, which may be equally
professional and identity affirming but less all-encompassing, leaving time for other
activities, is not explored.
People often talk about choice and working long hours because they enjoy the
work, due to the vision of other choices being limited. Equally, ‘choice’ may be an
illusion when working harder and longer is an inevitable consequence of changes in
work and organisations, such as downsizing. Inevitably some people do gain a sense
of enjoyment from intense work, but Lewis (2003a) argues that post-industrial work
cannot be unproblematically regarded as the new leisure. Nevertheless, if work is
taking over from leisure and other personal activities on a wide scale, it is important
to examine the broader and long-term effects on individual well-being, families and
Growing awareness of such issues heralded the development of what become
known as family friendly employment policies, or more recently work life policies,

implemented ostensibly to enhance well-being and equal opportunities, but in

reality, largely driven by business concerns such as recruitment and retention. These
policies, which could also support the integration of leisure and work, include flexible
working arrangements (the opportunity to vary where and when work is accom-
plished). They also include opportunities for working less, including part time or
reduced hours. However, take up of opportunities to work reduced hours tends to be
low, particularly among men and especially in white collar work where to do so is
frequently perceived to be career limiting (Lewis et al., 2002; Perlow, 1998).
Iso-Ahola and Mannell (2004) examine the reciprocal relationship between
leisure and health in contemporary context. They recognise that many people feel
stressed because of financial difficulties and the dominance of work, and that in such
situations leisure is used primarily for recuperation from work. The result is a passive
leisure lifestyle and a reactive approach to personal health. They argue, on the basis
of considerable research, that active leisure is important for health and well-being.
Participation in both physical and non-physical leisure activities has been shown to
reduce depression and anxiety, produce positive moods and enhance self-esteem and
self-concept, facilitate social interaction, increase general psychological well-being
Work, leisure and well-being 73
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and life satisfaction, and improve cognitive functioning. However, many people fail
to discover active leisure. Trying new things, and mastering challenges, is
discouraged and undermined by the social system and environment. And maintain-
ing motivation for active leisure is only possible if it is marked by enjoyment. Of
course, active leisure is not a panacea. If it is used as avoidance behaviour in
order not to face up to problems which require attention, it can increase stress;
and for people who are experiencing heavy demands from work and family,
trying to undertake too much active leisure may exacerbate rather than ameliorate

The changing face of work and leisure: a global issue?

Changing experiences of work and the threat that they can pose to time and energy
for leisure occur in a global context. Although experiences vary across different socio-
political and cultural contexts, some general trends are nevertheless emerging across
national boundaries. This is illustrated by two cross-national studies. The first,
Transitions [1], is an ongoing study looking at work, family and well-being in eight
European countries, while the second, Looking Backwards to Go Forwards: the
Integration of Paid Work and Personal Life [2], is a recently completed study of the
harmonisation of paid work and personal life in seven countries in Europe, America,
Africa and Asia. The pervasiveness of the trend towards intensification of work,
reducing time and energy for other activities, and the gendered impact of this trend
are evident in both studies.
Transitions is a European Union sponsored qualitative research project examin-
ing the transition to parenthood among employees in changing European workplaces
in France, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, the UK, Bulgaria, and
Slovenia. Although the focus is on work and family rather than leisure it illustrates
some of the issues of the paid work non-work boundaries in the contemporary

European workplace. One phase of the research involves organisational case studies
in the private and public sectors, using focus groups, interviews, questionnaires and
document analysis. Preliminary findings show, for example, a drive for more
efficiency and an intensification of work across all the countries as fewer people
are expected to do more work. The study also reveals a widespread implementation
gap between policies to support the reconciliation of work and family, whether at the
state or workplace level, and actual practice; and persisting gender differences in
work life responsibilities and experiences in a range of social policy contexts.

National economic and social context does, however, make some difference to
the ways in which this intensification is experienced. A short questionnaire on work,
family and well-being was completed by individuals participating in the focus groups
and interviews. This small-scale quantitative data contribute to the contextual
setting. A comparison of life satisfaction scores for employees in the private sector
organisations showed Norway to be the highest, followed by The Netherlands,
Portugal, the UK, then Slovenia and finally Bulgaria. Although likely to be related to
wider social and economic factors, preliminary indication is that these differences
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may bear some relation to differences in the experiences of work and non-work in
these countries.
The Transitions case studies show that both managers and work colleagues have
a decisive role in creating the organisational climate and culture that contribute to
the well-being of employed parents. Whatever the stated objectives and work life /

policies of the organisation, experiences vary across departments with managers

playing a key role, as found in many other studies (Crompton, 2003; Lewis, 1997,
2001). But increasingly responsibility for flexible working hours and the management
of employees’ needs for time for family is devolved to self-managing teams. This
focus on collaboration and teamwork ostensibly provides employees with more
flexibility to integrate work and non-work activities. In practice, however, in the
context of the intensification of work, employees are often reluctant to take time off
work or work flexibly when they realise that already overburdened colleagues will
have to take on their work. Reciprocity can be effective, but often colleagues can
become agents of social control, ensuring that work responsibilities most often take
precedence over non-work ones (Peper et al., 2004).
Some of the potential implications of the intrusion of work into all areas of life
emerge in an international study supported by the Ford Foundation, Looking
Backwards to Go Forwards: the Integration of Paid Work and Personal Life. This involved
looking back at what has happened in the work personal life field in a range of

countries * the UK, USA, India, Norway, The Netherlands, South Africa and Japan.

Past levers for change and problems and sticking points preventing further
development were identified, with the ultimate goal of suggesting ways to turn these
sticking points into new levers for change, so as to move forward (see Gambles et al.,
forthcoming; Lewis et al., 2003; Rapoport et al., in press). These countries offered
comparative insights into the trends and issues being felt in a range of contexts with
different levels of state or workplace support, at various stages in the evolution of
‘development’, dealing with different diversity and identity issues, expectations and
assumptions. Data collection was via country timelines to capture the history and
evolution of these issues, and country meetings with diverse groups of people
working with these issues, and conversational interviews with creative people
involved in some way with the issues.
One of the conclusions of this study is that global forces are calling for more and
more effort in employment with very little consideration for the effect of this on
people or societies (Rapoport et al., 2004). Formal paid work is highly intrusive into
other aspects of people’s lives across contemporary Western societies (Lewis, 2003a;
Lewis et al., 2003; Taylor, 2002) and increasingly in non-Western societies as
globalisation gains pace. Thus, the invasiveness of paid work into people’s lives is
moving from the ‘developed’ world to the ‘developing’ world. For example, people
working in multinational companies in India tend to work long and intensive hours
and report ‘work life balance’ as one of their major problems (Gambles et al.,

Such one-sidedness has negative effects for life satisfaction and other aspects of
well-being. Many people find they are increasingly isolated from family and leisure
activities in an ever-increasing climate of long hours and work intensity. As Bauman
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(2003) argues, intimate relationships or institutions such as families, friendships, or

communities are increasingly squeezed out or subjected to consumer forces and
market mentalities, and growing numbers of people reject, leave, or switch relation-
ships and corresponding institutions. In this climate, the Looking Backwards study
found that many men and women in the countries studied report increased
loneliness, and eroding support networks.
Many commentators have noted the negative effects of current working patterns
and expectations on people’s sense of connectedness with others, and on life
satisfaction and happiness (Jacobs & Christie, 2000; Layard, 2003; Voydanoff,
forthcoming). There is also mounting concern about declining interest and
participation in local communities and civic activities, which is threatening
community sustainability and democratic and civic spirit (Blunkett, 2001; Putnam,
As Rapoport et al. (2004) argue, ‘it is clear that current patterns of work create a
lack of time and energy for the care of children, elders, and communities, as well as
for pursuits that refresh the spirit and create the will and motivation for both
employment and other activities’. They argue there is a need to see this as a central
issue in the global economy and point to the need for fundamental change for people
sustainability. In a similar vein Webster (2004) argues that work needs to be socially
as well as economically sustainable. Socially sustainable work would take account of
the need for adequate time for leisure and other non-work activities to sustain and
enhance the well-being of employees and thus ultimately of employers.
Clearly, fundamental changes are needed, but the findings of the Looking
Backwards to Go Forwards study also indicated that the barriers to satisfying and
equitable harmonisation of paid work and personal life are largely societal and global
rather than residing within individuals. They include, for example, consumerism and
the power of money, a culture of constant busyness with expectations of quick fix
solutions to problems, and fragmented thinking* failing to consider the implications

of changes at multiple levels for individuals, families, employing organisations,

communities and societies.

It is important to recognise the complexity of the relationships between work, leisure,
well-being, and social structures and culture. Major issues such as the relationship
between paid work and the rest of life require global, national and local perspectives
in creating arrangements for satisfactory work and leisure in agreed economic
frameworks. Greenhaus and Parasuraman (1999) indicate that while work and family
can be in conflict, having negative effects on each other, they can also be integrated,
having reciprocal positive effects. For example, positive attitudes and experiences in
one domain may spill over to the other domain, permitting fuller and more enjoyable
participation in that role. They note that ‘Stressful, rigid work environments that
demand extended commitments can interfere with family life, whereas, flexible work
environments that provide opportunities for self control can enrich family life’
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(p. 409). They call for the adoption of a life stage perspective in research, and more
research into dual earner families.
Taylor (2002), in a report on the ESRC funded Future of Work Programme,
advocates that a determined effort is required to assess the purpose of paid work in all
our lives, and the need to negotiate a genuine trade-off between the needs of job
efficiency and leisure. The report considers that class and occupational differences
remain of fundamental importance to any understanding of the world of work.
Arguably, class is also important in understanding the world of leisure. Critcher and
Bramham (in press) state that ‘Where access to leisure increasingly rests on the
capacity to purchase goods and services in the market, the distribution of income
becomes an important determinant of leisure life chances’ (pp. 37 38). Research is

crucial in monitoring the distribution of resources available for work and leisure in
different groups in society, whether these are analysed by class, gender, age, ethnicity
or location.
Equally important in societies characterised by diversity is research into the
experiences and motivations of individuals with varying work and leisure lifestyles.
Recognising the diversity of human experience and requirements, and the social and
temporal nature of human endeavour, means there is no one correct policy for work
and leisure. In rapidly changing societies, time is needed for social practices to meet
new requirements.

Implications for guidance and counselling

Paid work is intruding into many people’s lives during their employed years, whether
through apparent ‘choice’ or as a necessity, reducing time and/or energy for the
development of social networks and leisure pursuits. Yet most people spend more
time in leisure (defined as non-work time) over the life course. Leisure activities that
are enjoyable and satisfying are therefore vital to sustain well-being, for example,
during periods of unemployment or retirement. Recent research suggests that many
people, especially in highly skilled jobs, prefer not to cease working altogether when
they reach retirement age, but they do want to work less (Barnes et al., 2004). Even
for those who continue to have some involvement in paid work, therefore, leisure can
provide an important bridge across the transition with implications for health and
Guidance and counselling professionals can play an important role on two
levels, the individual and the collective. At the individual level they can help by
raising awareness of these issue, the potential impact of long and/or intense working
patterns on health and well-being and ways of avoiding or dealing with stress. They
can also encourage apparent ‘workaholics’ or those in very demanding roles to think
ahead to the consequences of a one-sided, work dominated life, and support those
who are unemployed or underemployed in finding meaningful work. However, we
have indicated that many work leisure issues are the result of structural and social

constraints, and so individual counselling will be of limited value in challenging wider

social values around work and leisure. Group counselling may be useful in helping to
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raise awareness of the wider issues and to encourage people to talk about their
concerns, and develop the skills for collaboration and campaigning for more radical
social change that recognises the place of paid work and leisure over the life course
and the importance of both for well-being.

[1] Professor Sue Lewis is project Director. Dr John Haworth is a
team member specialising in well-being.
[2] The study Looking Backwards to Go Forwards: the Integration of Paid Work and Personal Life was
funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation to Rhona Rapoport at the Institute for Family and
Environment Research.

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