Assimilation and Leisure Constraints: Dynamics of Constraints on Leisure in Immigrant Populations

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Problems of leisure constraints and issues of leisure behavior among ethnic/racial minorities have been largely regarded as two distinct domains in leisure studies. However, it is difficult to study the leisure of minorities effectively without understanding the constraints that they face. Similarly we cannot claim to have created a complete picture of constraints on leisure unless this picture is applicable to minorities as well as to the mainstream population. In this project an attempt is made to integrate these two subfields of leisure science by studying both the static characteristics and the dynamic nature of constraints experienced by recent immigrants from Poland. A questionnaire survey of 236 Solidarity wave immigrants residing in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada was used to solicit information about leisure behavior and assimilation-related characteristics of this minority group. Dimensions of constraints applicable to immigrant populations were isolated using factor analysis. Respondents were grouped according to their level of acculturation, primary structural assimilation, economic assimilation, and behavioral-receptional assimilation - a modification of Gordon's (1964) assimilation typology. Then, regression analysis was used to establish relationships between assimilation levels and perceived importance of each type of leisure constraints. Findings of the study suggest that immigrants experience constraints not commonly found in the general population. Furthermore, the paper shows that the perceived importance of certain constraints among immigrants diminishes with increasing assimilation level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-551
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Assimilation
  • Ethnicity
  • Immigrant groups
  • Leisure constraints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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