, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 753-769
Date: 19 May 2012

Leisure Satisfaction and Quality of Life in China, Japan, and South Korea: A Comparative Study Using AsiaBarometer 2006

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Abstract

Leisure satisfaction is positively associated with quality of life (QOL), more specifically, subjective QOL, which is often expressed as happiness. Compared to industrial nations in North America and Europe, however, significantly less is known about Asian nations. The purpose of this study is to examine the understudied areas of China, Japan and South Korea, all of which share cultural values and practices (e.g., Confucianism). Internationally representative 2006 AsiaBarometer data from Mainland China (n = 2,000), Japan (n = 1,003) and South Korea (n = 1,023) are employed to examine the concept of QOL, and the association between leisure satisfaction and QOL in these specific Asian populations. Results of confirmatory factor analysis demonstrate the validity of the QOL concept based on a series of satisfaction measures (i.e., leisure, income, health, family, spirituality, and friendship). Subsequently, generalized ordinal logistic regression was used to model QOL as a function of leisure satisfaction and covariates. Results show that leisure satisfaction is independently positively associated with QOL only in South Korea, although other satisfaction measures including income, health and spiritual satisfactions are consistently significant in all three nations. These findings may be useful for developing locally-sensitive policies and services to improve/maintain QOL in each nation. Possible explanations about the diverse relationships between leisure satisfaction and QOL are discussed in view of the different stage of societal development, common Confucian values, as well as each nation’s unique characteristics.