Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Leisure Statisfaction and Acculturative Stress: The Case of Chinese-Canadian Immigrants

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Leisure Statisfaction and Acculturative Stress: The Case of Chinese-Canadian Immigrants

Article excerpt

North America's sociodemographic composition is undergoing tremendous change. In the United States, 4% of the population was Asian or Pacific Islander in 2000, with this percentage expected to double by 2025 (Cheeseman Day, 2007). According to 2002 Census figures, Chinese was the largest Asian group (Barnes & Bennett, 2002) and greater China (i.e., Hong Kong, Taiwan, People's Republic of China) was the second largest region of birth of the United States foreign-bom population (Malone, Baluja, Costanze, & Davis, 2003). In Canada, the visible minority population was 16% in 2006 (Statistics Canada, 2010). Although this figure is triple the 5% reported in 1981 (Statistics Canada, 2005), it is only half that projected for 2031, when 31% of Canada's population will be visible minority group members (Statistics Canada, 2010). Chinese is now, and will remain, the second largest visible minority group (Statistics Canada, 2010). Currently 72% of Chinese in Canada are immigrants, largely (45%) from Mainland China (Lindsay, 2007).

In spite of the magnitude of this change, a review of 3,369 articles in five major leisure journals found only 12 articles that dealt specifically with immigrants' leisure (Floyd, Bocarro, & Thompson, 2008). This finding led to a call for more research on leisure and immigration in general and on "the role of leisure in adjustment to [North] American society" (p. 4) in particular. Floyd's et al. appeal echoes that of Shinew and colleagues (2006), who stated that as immigrant groups' influence grew, the effect of immigration on leisure experiences and the role of leisure in adjustment to (North) American society would become crucial research areas. Similarly, Stodolska and Walker (2007) argued that immigration status brings a distinct set of challenges (and, possibly, opportunities) that researchers who study minority groups' leisure need to acknowledge. Based in part on these leisure scholars' pleas, the purpose of this study is to examine how Chinese-Canadian immigrants' leisure satisfaction affects their acculturative stress.

Literature Review

Acculturative stress entails behaviors and experiences that are disruptive to a person after he or she immigrates (Berry, 1997). Based on the extensive literature conducted on this topic outside leisure studies, Berry developed a framework that outlines the acculturative stress process as well as the factors that compose it. The process component of his model involves the demands immigrants must face stemming "from the experience of having to deal with two cultures in contact, and having to participate to various extents in both of them" (Berry, Poortinga, Segall, & Dasen, 2002, p. 364). Among these potentially stressful demands are language difficulties, not feeling at home, loss/nostalgia, and perceived discrimination (Aroian, Noms, Tran, & Schappler-Morris, 1998). Berry's model's factor component includes both personal (e.g., age, gender) and situational variables that arise during the acculturative stress process itself. Of the various situational variables that exist, this study focuses on two: number of years experiencing acculturation, and leisure as a coping strategy, specifically in terms of leisure satisfaction.

Research suggests that a person's age at the time of immigration influences how acculturation proceeds (Berry et al., 2002). This process is generally smoother, Berry et al. hold, if a person arrives when he or she is very young (i.e., pre-school) rather than when an adolescent or older adult (e.g., retired and joining one's children). Although these researchers do not mention any differences during early- to mid-adulthood (i.e., age 18 to 64), a study (Mak, Chen, Wong, & Zane, 2005) of Chinese Americans using hierarchical multiple regression found that age did initially affect daily stress, but this effect became non-significant once two psychosocial variables (i.e., self-esteem and hardiness) were added. …

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