Leisure Values of Europeans from 46 Countries

Verbakel, Ellen
June 2013
European Sociological Review;Jun2013, Vol. 29 Issue 3, p669
Academic Journal
This study examines to what extent Europeans find ‘relaxing’ and ‘learning something new’ is important in their leisure time and explains variation in these leisure values by individual and country-level characteristics. These values reflect possible responses to a perceived ‘time crunch’ resulting from demanding work and family obligations and the drive to develop personal skills because of societies’ emphasis on personal achievement, respectively. Multi-level analyses were conducted with 46 countries based on the European Values Study 2008. Results show that individuals with objective time pressure (work obligations and, for females, partner's work schedules) find relaxing an important aspect of leisure time and that people who presumably perceive investments in personal development to pay off (young, highly educated, internal locus of control) value learning something new in leisure time. Country-level explanations focus on modernization and institutionalization. It is found that relaxing is more highly valued in economically advanced societies and in Muslim countries. Learning something new in leisure time is found especially important in achievement-based and post-communist societies, but—contrary to the expectations—less so in economically developed societies; apparently, rational arguments concerning the presumed pay offs of spending leisure time on personal growth prevail over the valuation of self-expression.


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