'I can't be very sad': Constraint and adaptation in the leisure of a 'learning in retirement' group

Douglas A. Kleiber, Galit Nimrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to consider adaptive processes in relation to the constraints that limit leisure in late life. Interview data gathered from a purposive sample of 20 male and female retirees involved in a 'Learning in Retirement' programme were used to identify constraints, responses to constraints and the personal meanings of both. Results indicated a variety of emotional and behavioural responses to constraints suggesting five prominent behavioural themes and three emotional themes. Behavioural responses were grouped into: (1) reducing and eliminating; (2) persistence with commitment; (3) constraint as 'project'; (4) substitution; and (5) exploration and self-discovery. Emotional reactions ranged from the initial frustration to acceptance and even gratitude for the possibilities that remain. Findings are discussed in terms of the models of constraint negotiation and selective optimisation reported in the literature; but they also indicate that constraints may lead to responses that are not only personally beneficial but are also novel and transformative to some extent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-83
Number of pages17
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Feb 2009


  • Adaptation
  • Ageing
  • Leisure constraints
  • Retirement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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