OSU Study Finds Believing Leisure is Wasteful Leads to Stress and Depression

According to a new study at OSU those who believe that leisure time is wasteful and unproductive may have less happiness and be at risk for higher levels of depression and stress.

Through a series of studies, the researchers looked at the effects of the common belief in our modern society that productivity is the ultimate goal, and that having fun is a waste of time.

Study authors found that people who strongly agreed with this belief reported poorer mental health outcomes and received less benefits from leisure activity. They stated that there is a large body of research suggesting just that—leisure has mental health benefits and make us more productive and feel less stress.

In the new data they found that the belief that leisure is wasteful is linked to being depressed and stressed. However, one unexpected outcome of the study was that leisure skeptics could enjoy fun activities if something beyond leisure itself was the end goal.

If leisure can be framed as ultimately being productive, leisure skeptics get some of the same benefits.

The “Journal of Experimental Social Psychology” published the results.