The Pay-Offs to Sociability: Do solitary and social leisure relate to happiness?

Victoria Reyes-García*, Ricardo A. Godoy, Vincent Vadez, Isabel Ruíz-Mallén, Tomás Huanca, William R. Leonard, Thomas W. McDade, Susan Tanner, Bolivian Study Team TAPS Bolivian Study Team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Previous research addressing the association between leisure and happiness has given rise to the hypothesis that informal social activities might contribute more to happiness than solitary activities. In the current study, we tested how the two types of leisure-social and solitary-contribute to a person's subjective sense of well-being. For the empirical estimate, we used four consecutive quarters of data collected from 533 people over the age of 16, from 13 Tsimane' hunter-farmer villages in the Bolivian Amazon. Results suggest that only social, not solitary, leisure has a positive and statistically significant association with subjective well-being. The association between solitary leisure and subjective well-being was negligible or negative. Future research should focus on emic definitions of social and solitary time, for solitary time might not always be equivalent to leisure and productive group activities might substitute for social leisure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-446
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Nature
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Happiness
  • Leisure
  • Scan observations
  • Tsimane' (Bolivia)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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