A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Leisure, Place Attachment, and Meaning in Life

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Shintaro KONO, University of Alberta, Canada
Eiji ITO, Wakayama University, Japan
Isao OKAYASU, Hiroshima University of Economics, Japan
Gordon WALKER, University of Alberta, Canada
Leisure is a life domain that powerfully shapes our mental health or well-being (Kuykendall et al., 2015). Also known is the positive relationship between well-being and place attachment (e.g., Rollero & De Piccoli, 2010). Place attachment is conceptualized as people’s emotional bond with a certain space, and consists of three sub-dimensions: (a) place identity (i.e., the relationship between self-concept and space), (b) place dependence (i.e., space’s capacity to satisfy people’s functional needs), and (c) social bonding (i.e., social ties that bind people and space) (Kyle et al., 2005). Kyle (2016) points out that despite abundant research on leisure and place attachment, its implications for mental health have been severely understudied especially in the community context. Thus, our study’s purpose is to examine whether community attachment mediates the relationship between leisure participation and well-being.

Data were collected through online survey from 205 Canadian and 208 Japanese middle-aged and older adults. Frequency in leisure participation was measured by 10 items (Walker et al., 2011). The three sub-dimensions of place attachment in the community context were measured by 10 items (Kyle et al., 2005). In terms of well-being, we focused on a construct called meaning in life (MIL)—purpose, significance, and comprehension of one’s life, which was measured by 10 items (George & Park, 2017). Data were analyzed through a statistical technique called partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM).

We first ensured that we could meaningfully compare structural findings between the two cultural groups by performing a measurement invariance test (Henseler et al., 2016). The following PLS-SEM revealed that community attachment, especially social bonding, significantly mediated the leisure-MIL relationship. The subsequent multi-group analysis suggested that this mediation effect was significantly stronger among Canadians than Japanese. These findings will be discussed in regard to Canadian and Japanese communities and their respective residents.