The space it fills: leisure gardening during COVID-19: an evaluation of leisure gardening, basic psychological needs, and resilience in a time of stress

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Lawrence, Anna
The purpose of this study was to explore the connection between leisure, basic psychological needs, and resilience during times of uncertainty. The context of this research was conducted within leisure gardeners on Vancouver Island, Canada, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This thesis acknowledges a call to develop leisure frameworks that incorporate basic psychological needs (Gui et al., 2019a; Leithwood, 2020), and to the author’s knowledge, is the first study to investigate that in tandem with resilience and times of uncertainty. Data collection occurred over the summer months of 2020 and utilized photovoice and semi-structured interviews to document psychological implications of the pursuit. The data was thematically analyzed and indicated that all participants reported a heightened sense of resilience because of their decision to garden as a leisure pursuit. The data also indicated that leisure gardening has a positive effect on participants’ basic psychological needs, while the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect. A proposed framework was developed linking times of uncertainty, leisure pursuits catering towards basic psychological need criteria, and resilience, to be tested in future studies. Implications of an effective framework could inform psychological sustainability initiatives, including personal wellness strategies and disaster preparedness plans.
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