Influence of leisure participation and motivation on psychological well-being and consumption behaviour after a critical life event
Critical life events have a huge impact on daily life or future goals, changes in consumption patterns, relationships with others and psychological well-being. To date, there is a lack of research on the various types of consumption behaviour, reflecting a gap in the literature and the need for further investigation, especially when linking these behaviours to critical life events. The current study regards immigration as a life event, with the focus of the study being on leisure consumption and its relationship with immigration. Leisure consumption has been limited primarily to theoretical discussion, thus, there is a need for further empirical evidence and discussion of the theoretical mechanism of how leisure consumption can contribute to the enhancement of the psychological well-being of individuals who have gone through a critical life event such as immigration. Research on leisure consumption in the immigration context is lacking and further exploration will provide valuable inputs into the research domain. This research examines the influence of leisure consumption as a coping strategy in the psychological well-being of immigrants. Therefore, the goal is to generate further insights into this consumer behaviour by studying the relationship between leisure motivation, leisure participation as consumption, social support, intrapersonal outcomes and psychological well-being. This quantitative research is motivated by the overarching question: How does leisure consumption influence the psychological well-being of people after they immigrate to a new country? The sub-questions focus on (1) how immigrants self-rate their health status after immigration; (2) whether the importance of leisure for immigrants changes after immigration; (3) what additional leisure activities immigrants engage in or want to engage in after their immigration; (4) what motivates immigrants to participate in specific leisure activities; and (5) to what extent leisure participation, intrapersonal outcomes and social support variables mediate the effect of leisure motivation on psychological well-being. A survey was conducted with the intention of looking at the relationship between leisure consumption and psychological well-being. A questionnaire was distributed online and in printed form that required respondents to answer a set of questions anonymously. All respondents were immigrants (N=280) who moved to New Zealand after June 2009, aged from 20 to 55 years old and were all located in Auckland. The data was analysed using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression and multilevel sequential mediation analyses. The main findings are that the relationship between leisure motivation and leisure participation indicates that immigrants choose different activities for different motivations, affirming that some of the hypotheses were supported while others were not. Leisure participation in dining out activities, and leisure motivation for learning something new and for competence both had direct relationships with self-efficacy. Dining mediated these relationships. Emotional support was not positively associated with either of the activities. Leisure participation in dining and travelling was positively associated with self-esteem only. Leisure participation in cultural entertainment activities did not have any positive associations with any of the social support variables. Psychological well-being was positively associated with only one intrapersonal outcome – self-efficacy and two social support variables – esteem and companionship. All were derived from leisure participation. Immigrants, therefore, participate in leisure primarily for learning something new or gathering competence. Overall, leisure participation influences the psychological well-being of people who immigrate to a new country in a positive way and is mediated by self-efficacy, esteem and companionship. This study adds to the literature by demonstrating the mechanism in which leisure consumption contributes to enhancing the psychological well-being of individuals after a critical life event. A developed and empirically tested theoretical model can also be used as a springboard for future research in leisure consumption. Moreover, it is vital to understand that consumers, who have recently gone through critical life events might be dealing with stress. This model, therefore, has a list of benefits for not only academic researchers but also for other key stakeholders including marketers, practitioners of recreational programs and immigrant settlement services.