Queen's researcher finds truth to age-old maxim 'work hard, play hard'

Queen’s University biology professor Lonnie Aarssen has published a study that, for the first time, provides strong empirical support for a correlation between a motivation to seek accomplishment and an attraction to leisure.

“I’ve been interested for quite a while in two motivations that people seem to display – one I call legacy drive and one I call leisure drive,” says Dr. Aarssen. 

The maxim “work hard, play hard” – which can be traced back to at least 1827 – has long been used to express an implied connection between dedicated effort and having fun. Yet, despite its status as a trope in Western society, any statistical link between the two had never been quantified. Dr. Aarssen, along with undergraduate student Laura Crimi, conducted a survey of over 1,400 undergraduate students at Queen’s. Participants were asked to identify their age, gender, religious affiliation and cultural background. They were then asked a series of questions to determine their attraction to religion, parenthood, accomplishment or fame, and recreation.

While some degree of correlation was seen between most of the factors listed, there was a particularly strong correlation between attraction to both legacy and leisure activities; those inclined to ‘work hard’ tend also to ‘play hard.' 

Read the full story in the Queen's Gazette.