Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Hanna Oska 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Hanna, and I have just recently finished the BSc Applied Psychology course. I aspire to go into psychotherapy work with people in the future. Following this course, I plan to continue my studies by completing a Master's specializing in psychotherapy and counselling. My main interest lies in mental well being, particularly in affordable and accessible interventions. This is why I focused my thesis on studying hobbies and their impact on life satisfaction and happiness.

Project Description

My final year project looked into differences in well-being between individuals who either had a shared hobby with others, had a solo hobby, or no hobby at all by looking at the participant's happiness and life satisfaction. A total of 120 participants took part in the study, and their ages ranged between 18yrs and 60yrs old. Two psychometric scales were employed in the study - Satisfaction with Life Scale and the Subjective Happiness Scale.

Project Objectives

The main purpose of the study was to find out more about what kinds of hobbies people participate in, and why they engage in hobbies in the first place, and whether engaging in hobbies with others led to increased life satisfaction and happiness. Participants answered an online questionnaire containing the Satisfaction with Life Scale and the Subjective Happiness Scale to assess well-being, as well as questions relating to hobbies to assess the hobbies and reasons for engaging in hobbies. Life satisfaction and happiness were intended to be investigated between people who have shared hobbies, solo hobbies and no hobbies, however there were not enough participants in the no hobby group for a fair comparison. The answers to the hobby questions were analyzed separately to establish hobby types and reasons for participation.

Project Outcomes

Although statistically there was no differences in life satisfaction and happiness of participants, the separate analysis showed that need fulfillment was a common theme for hobby participation. People participated in hobbies for four main reasons - the hobby was done voluntarily under no obligations, it had an emotional value for the person, the hobby aided in self-development and the person was willing to invest resources in the hobby. Sport, creative pursuits and playing video games were the most common hobby type among participants, and the majority of participants reported engaging in a hobby a few times a week. Majority of the participants (n=75) mainly engaged in a shared hobby, indicating that hobbies are also an opportunity for social need fulfillment.