Leisure constraints experienced by people in early recovery from substance use disorders

Jason Page, Brent Hawkins, Jasmine Townsend, Stephen Lewis, James Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study Purpose: While leisure may help develop recovery resources, individuals in recovery from substance use disorders face a range of constraints to leisure participation. Accordingly, this study sought to increase understanding of leisure constraints experienced by individuals in early recovery living in community residences. Methods: Participants were recruited from community residences and a recovery community center. The study utilized a paired/triad interview methodology to collect participant views on leisure constraints during early recovery. A priori coding categories were based on the three types of leisure constraints (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural) outlined by Leisure Constraints Theory. Results: Staff and program structure impacted all constraint types. At the intrapersonal level, residents felt unsupported in their leisure decision making leading to self-doubt in activity selection. Interpersonally, residents discussed the challenges of managing relationships and isolation. Structurally, residents perceived a lack of choice of leisure resources, and constraints presented by the residences’ program structure. Conclusions: This study found programs and program staff may serve as constraints on residents’ ability to engage in recovery-oriented leisure. Additional staff training and utilization of recreation therapists could be beneficial to help residents make connections between recovery and leisure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-319
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023


  • Constraints
  • community residences
  • recovery
  • substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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