Exploring the influence of family holidays on Chinese adolescents' subjective wellbeing
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Holiday travel experiences may have potential to increase post-travel subjective wellbeing (SWB). Although positive association between travel and individual’s SWB has been established, extant research on holiday travel is mostly conducted in Western contexts, and adolescents’ perspectives are under-represented. Moreover, factors the influence post-holiday SWB are not well established in the literature. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the influence of travel on Chinese adolescents’ SWB in family holiday travel contexts, and to explore the relationships among trip reflection, family functioning, and adolescent students’ post-holiday SWB. Indeed, the role travel experiences might play in buffering the negative influence of the intense academic pressures faced by many Chinese adolescentsis certainly warranted. Using the Chinese Labor Holiday and the National Holiday as experimental contexts, a longitudinal research design was employed. Surveys were distributed at two public middle schools in the urban area of a large-sized city located in the East part of Mainland China. Participants were middle school students aged between 12 to 15 years old (n=943). The questionnaire assessed the construct of SWB (i.e., global life satisfaction, contentment with specific life domains, and affects) at three stages (before holidays, right after holidays, and one month after holidays) of each holiday respectively, and compared the changes of respondents’ SWB using a series of repeated measures of ANOVA where travel, holidays, and siblings were employed to conduct between group comparisons. Additionally, the questionnaire assessed the construct of trip reflection and family functioning during family holidays and tested the proposed conceptual framework using the structural equation modeling method. Results from the repeated measures of ANOVA suggested that Chinese adolescents’ SWB significantly changed across family holidays, where travel was an important factor that increased adolescent students’ SWB. In particular, adolescent travelers’ SWB level was significantly higher than non-travelers before and after holidays. Additionally, only those students’ who traveled during family holidays experienced a significant increase of SWB when they returned to school. However, increases in SWB were not sustained over time. The benefits of travel on travelers’ SWB diminished gradually after holidays. Results from SEM model revealed that family functioning significantly and positively predicted the results of adolescents’ post-holiday SWB. However, trip reflection did not significantly influence travelers’ post-holiday SWB. As well, this study found that adolescent travelers’ sex and the nature of family holidays influenced the relationship of family functioning and post-holiday SWB. Specifically, family functioning during family holidays had a greater influence on male adolescent travelers’ global life satisfaction, and a greater influence on female travelers’ contentment with specific life domains as well as emotional wellbeing. Moreover, both the Labor Holiday and the National Holiday had beneficial influence on adolescent travelers’ SWB. Indeed, shorter family holidays had greater influence on increasing adolescents’ positive affect and decreasing their negative affect, whereas longer family holidays were more helpful to enhance students’ contentment with family life, school life and leisure life. There are several implications of this study. Theoretically, this study advances our knowledge on the influence of family holiday travel on adolescents’ SWB. These results fill important contextual research gaps, by demonstrating the role of travel experiences on Chinese adolescents’ SWB. Moreover, relationships between trip reflection, family functioning and adolescent travelers’ post-holiday SWB are not yet explored as mechanisms that help explain post-travel SWB among Chinese adolescents. Practically, this research suggests schools to remove the pressure of studying during family holidays and encourage their students to take trips or participate in leisure activities during family holidays. When adolescent students return to school, schools should also encourage students’ participation in leisure activities to sustain the beneficial effects of family holidays. In addition, parents should not only pay attention to their children’s academic achievements, but also care about their wellbeing and quality of life. It is recommended that parents take advantage of family holiday trips to tighten their family bonds and develop family adaptability. As it relates to policy makers, this study calls for more family holidays for adolescents to travel with their parents. Indeed, the present study demonstrates that even short-term family holidays can be an effective means to increase the SWB. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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Mingjie Gao (2017). Exploring the influence of family holidays on Chinese adolescents' subjective wellbeing. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12485