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Older Adults and Their Spare-time Activity Participation: A Comparison of Older Mainland Chinese, Chinese Canadian, and British Canadian People Open Access


Other title
Older Adults
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Liang, Haidong
Supervisor and department
Walker, Gordon (Physical Education and Recreation)
Examining committee member and department
Keating, Norah (Human Ecology)
Halpenny, Elizabeth (Physical Education and Recreation)
Nimrod, Galit (Communication Studies)
Hinch, Tom (Physical Education and Recreation)
Walker, Gordon (Physical Education and Recreation)
Physical Education and Recreation

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Abstract By comparing and contrasting three different ethnic/cultural groups (i.e., British Canadian, Mainland Chinese, and Chinese Canadian), this cross-cultural study explored how age, gender, ethnicity, and acculturation affect older adults’ motivations, constraints, and constraint negotiation when participating in spare-time activities. Eighteen research questions were tested based on the data collected from a snowball sample of 15 semi-structured interviews (N = 5 for each of the three ethnic/cultural groups) and a convenience sample of 450 self-administered questionnaires (N = 150 for each of the three ethnic/cultural groups). The researcher found that: (1) Walker and Virden’s (2005) leisure constraints model appears cross-culturally applicable, suggesting that the perception of the variables examined in this study is largely similar across cultures but important differences exist; (2) compared to age and gender, ethnicity and acculturation are significant in explaining older adults’ leisure participation. Results indicated that: (a) despite the levels of acculturation, younger Chinese Canadian older adults were always more likely to employ negotiation strategies. Additionally, among the various negotiation strategies examined, acquiring skills was more important for both Mainland Chinese and Chinese Canadians; (b) constraints might not critically affect older adults’ leisure behaviours and instead constraints could be potential motivations for participation; and (c) including a face scale to study a Chinese population proved to be informative. This study’s value rests with not only enhancing the leisure and gerontology theories, but also bridging the gap between academic and practical worlds. Future research directions are also recommended.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Liang, H. D., & Walker, G. J. (2011). Does “face” constrain Mainland Chinese people’s leisure behavior? Leisure/Loisir, 35(2), 211-225.

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