Thesis

Soccer refereeing as serious leisure and whether it leads to the development of a leisure identity

This exploratory study analyzed the activity of soccer refereeing in the context of serious leisure. Soccer refereeing is an activity that requires an individual to exert considerable effort in order to participate, and participation is not always enjoyable or well compensated. In spite of this, many referees return to the activity on a regular basis. 
 
 Using serious leisure and symbolic interaction theories, this study explored the hypothesis that soccer refereeing is a form of serious leisure that contributes to a leisure identity. Using a quantitative approach, 196 soccer referees from the California North Referee Association were surveyed with an online survey tool. Survey items included demographics, questions related to soccer referee activities, as well as 54 statements from the Serious Leisure Inventory and Measure developed by Gould, Moore, McGuire and Stebbins. Responses were analyzed to see if soccer refereeing qualified as serious leisure and contributed to a leisure identity. 
 
 Soccer refereeing appeared to fit the characteristics of serious leisure more closely for those at more advanced referee grade levels. Grade level also was the strongest predictor of refereeing as a serious leisure identity.

Thesis (M.A., Sociology) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2010.

This exploratory study analyzed the activity of soccer refereeing in the context of serious leisure. Soccer refereeing is an activity that requires an individual to exert considerable effort in order to participate, and participation is not always enjoyable or well compensated. In spite of this, many referees return to the activity on a regular basis. Using serious leisure and symbolic interaction theories, this study explored the hypothesis that soccer refereeing is a form of serious leisure that contributes to a leisure identity. Using a quantitative approach, 196 soccer referees from the California North Referee Association were surveyed with an online survey tool. Survey items included demographics, questions related to soccer referee activities, as well as 54 statements from the Serious Leisure Inventory and Measure developed by Gould, Moore, McGuire and Stebbins. Responses were analyzed to see if soccer refereeing qualified as serious leisure and contributed to a leisure identity. Soccer refereeing appeared to fit the characteristics of serious leisure more closely for those at more advanced referee grade levels. Grade level also was the strongest predictor of refereeing as a serious leisure identity.

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