An analysis of adult play groups: Social versus serious participation in contract bridge Academic Article uri icon


  • Missing from the study of leisure behavior is a research tradition expressly devoted to the study of adult play groups. This article presents a social world perspective for analyzing such groups and frames the analysis of play groups in terms of both individual interactants and the broader social world in which the groups are a part. The social world perspective provided the basis for exploring the nature of adult participation within a distinct social worldcontract bridge. Results from a yearlong study of bridge groups in a town fictitiously named Glenn Valley revealed that bridge players used the terms social and serious as frames of reference in defining what constitutes legitimate bridge activity and in determining people with whom it is acceptable to play bridge. The use of these terms was pervasive enough to support the conclusion that the bridge scene in Glenn Valley is segmented into two distinct components: one composed largely of social groups and the other of serious groups. Social and serious groups are shown in this paper to differ in terms of recruitment processes, primary group functions, types of games played, social world linkages, physical settings and management of club activities, sequencing of bridge activity, topics of conversation, stakes, formation of partnerships, characteristics of club members, impersonal relationships, and types of substitutes. Sources for activity legitimacy within both worlds are explained in terms of their intersections with gender roles. 1992 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings

  • Leisure Sciences

author list (cited authors)

  • Scott, D., & Godbey, G. C.

citation count

  • 74

complete list of authors

  • Scott, David||Godbey, Geoffrey C

publication date

  • January 1992