Some Years Later – Perspectives on Diverse Worlds of Unemployed Adults: Consequences for Leisure, Lifestyle, and Well-Being

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Mark HAVITZ, University of Waterloo, Canada
Peter MORDEN, Concordia University, Canada
This presentation will provide a retrospective look at some predictable and sometimes surprising results of a multi-method study of the effects of unemployment in leisure, lifestyle, and well-being in Canada, and update its conclusions within the context of contemporary world-wide literature on the topic. Sixty unemployed adult Canadians with prior job history comprised the sample. The research employed in-depth interviews, quantitative experience sampling, and standardized questionnaires to collect data over a period of weeks and months. It provides substantial evidence that the lived experiences of people who are unemployed are incredibly diverse and that, although varied in form and preference, the need for leisure is as intense for them as for people who are employed. As noted in the ISA call for abstracts, “the biggest battalions in the reserve army of the unemployed are young people and those in ‘late career.’” People in the present study broadly classified on the basis of in-depth interview responses as Planners and Connectors were predominantly comprised of older respondents, whereas those classified as Vacationers and Marginalized were, for the most part, much younger. Two to three sub-groups within each of those four just named provide additional nuance to the life circumstances experienced by respondents. Issues related to recreation activity patterns and constraints, mood states by time of day and day of week, leisure boredom, and social isolation will be explored. The data also speak to potential changes in public policy and social service agency management at Canadian local, provincial, and federal levels that will better serve unemployed people and their dependants, and enable them to use leisure activities to improve their lives.