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Culture and Leisure Constraints: A Comparison of Canadian and Mainland Chinese University Students

Gordon J. Walker, Edgar L. Jackson, Jinyang Deng


This study extends previous research on leisure constraints by developing a new, theory-based, inventory of intrapersonal leisure constraints items using the theory of planned behavior and self-determination theory as guiding frameworks, and then using the inventory to assess the cross-cultural validity of the hierarchical model of leisure constraints (Crawford, Jackson, & Godbey, 1991). These objectives are accomplished by comparing how perceptions of 10 intrapersonal constraints items and perceptions of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural constraints affect starting a new leisure activity among university students in Canada and in Mainland China. English- and simplified Chinese-language questionnaires yielded useable data from 227 Canadian and 216 Mainland Chinese participants. Nine of 10 intrapersonal constraints items differed significantly, with Chinese students being more intrapersonally constrained than Canadians in all but one instance. A single combined measure of intrapersonal constraints was compared with similar indices for interpersonal and structural constraints. All three constraints categories differed significantly: Chinese students were more intra- and interpersonally constrained, while Canadian students were more structurally constrained. Despite these cultural differences, support for the hierarchical leisure constraints model was found in the data for both Chinese and Canadian students, indicating the general applicability of this framework across two cultures.


Constraint, culture, leisure, self-determination theory, theory of planned behavior.

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