Skip to main content
Intellect

For teens, fun at home with dad more important than pricey vacations

BYU study finds youth feel more family cohesion when dad makes time for everyday leisure

Fathers looking to bolster their relationships with teenage children don’t need to break the bank this summer for a major family trip.

A new study by BYU researchers says youth feel a higher level of family cohesion and functionality when dad simply spends more time playing catch, watching a movie or eating with them.

Marriott School professors Ramon Zabriskie and Neil Lundberg surveyed fathers and youth from 647 U.S. households of varying backgrounds for the study, with each family having at least one youth between the ages of 11 and 15.

“When fathers invest time in low-cost, home-based, spontaneous activities close to or in the home, youth notice the difference,” Zabriskie said. “It doesn’t have to be something big. In fact, our research shows the little activities are the most important.”

The BYU researchers looked at two types of family leisure: core activities and balance activities. Core family leisure is defined as doing activities that require little planning and little money, such as:

  • Eating a meal together
  • Playing board games
  • Watching TV and movies
  • Playing sports in the yard/park
  • Playing video games
  • Attending children’s performances
  • Gardening
  • Reading books

Balance leisure activities are those that take more time, planning and money, such as family trips.
The researchers found that the core activities contribute more to youth’s perception of family functionality and family cohesion than the balance activities. Of course, balance activities also had a positive effect.

“We spend so much effort on the big-ticket items thinking that it’s the most important thing for our families, when really, more time with our kids on day-to-day activities will suffice,” Lundberg said.

Studies have found links among father involvement and aspects of family functioning, but this study, published in a recent issue of Leisure Sciences, is among the first to examine that relationship on a broad scale with a large sample of families.

Surveyed families came from every major U.S. region and had annual incomes ranging from less than $10,000 to more than $150,000.

Lydia Buswell, then a graduate student in the Recreation Management program, was the lead author on the study. Alan Hawkins, a professor in the BYU School of Family Life, was also a coauthor.

“Too often when people think about family leisure, they think of the time they spend on vacations and neglect the leisure time spent at home,” Buswell said. “Family vacations and other balance activities can only help build a family if there is a foundation to build upon first.”

father.jpg

Related Articles

data-content-type="article"

Going cashless to prevent COVID-19 was useless, new BYU microbiology study finds

May 12, 2022
A new study published in PLOS ONE from BYU scientists finds that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is almost immediately nonviable if deposited on a cash banknote. The virus actually shows greater stability on plastic money cards, with the live virus still being detected 48 hours after initial deposition, but no viable virus was detected on either cash or card that was randomly sampled in the study.


overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

BYU student’s research solves an icy dwarf planet mystery

May 09, 2022
The dwarf planet Haumea has befuddled modern scientists for years. New BYU research details the planet's creation and solves one of astronomy's puzzles.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"

When it comes to buying stuff, who do you trust to sell it: Government, nonprofits or for-profits? BYU study says...

April 26, 2022
Covid-19 tests were in short supply two months ago, but now testing options abound, from free tests mailed by the U.S. government to those available from pharmacies and nonprofit healthcare providers. All other factors being equal, is there an advantage to accessing a test through any one of these avenues?
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=