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Title: Effects of social tourism on unemployed individuals' self-efficacy and job-search behaviour
Author: Kakoudakis, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 620X
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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Findings from social tourism research on low-income groups have shown that social tourism holds several psychological benefits for participants (e.g. Minnaert, Maitland, and Miller, 2009; McCabe and Johnson, 2013). On the other hand, the evidence base about any direct linkages between these individual benefits, and social and economic benefits, remains weak, affecting the promotion of social tourism in the UK policy agenda. In line with the recent debate on social tourism in the country (see All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Tourism, 2011), the current socioeconomic trends, and more specifically the high rates of general and long-term unemployment (Eurostat, 2013; ONS, 2013b), and the consequences of unemployment for individuals, their families, and the society, this study sets to explore whether social tourism holds any particular psychological benefits for unemployed individuals in Great Britain, and the extent to which, such benefits have, in turn, positive effects on their job-search behaviour (JSB). Drawing upon findings from social tourism studies on low-income groups, psychology studies on unemployment and job-search behaviour, and social psychology theories with specific reference to Bandura’s (1986, 1997) social cognitive theory, this study examines the psychological benefits of tourism participation within the context of self-efficacy beliefs. Self-efficacy (SE) is the main construct of social cognitive theory, and it has been found to play a central role in unemployed individuals’ JSB. Utilising a mixed methods approach to data collection and analysis, the study incorporates a pre- post-test non-experimental design (n=57) and semi-structured interviews (n=13), with the aim to investigate any such effects over time, and to understand how they are manifested. Access to the rare target population, became possible through the database of the Family Holiday Association, the main provider of social tourism for low-income families in the UK. Results showed that the holiday-break had positive effects on participants’ SE, which, in turn, had positive effects on their JSB. In addition, the holiday-break was found to have direct effects on participants’ JSB, as it was perceived as an incentive towards employment. On the other hand, such positive effects, and especially with regard to JSB, were not universal among unemployed individuals, mainly due to existing restrictions to work, such as caring responsibilities. This non-effect was counterbalanced by identified positive effects of the holiday-break on participants’ behaviours towards alternative paths to employment (BAPE), such as, volunteering. Overall, findings confirmed the central role of enabling environments in positive mental health, and offered some “tangible” evidence about direct linkages between individual psychological benefits that social tourism holds for participants, and socioeconomic benefits, thus, giving a new insight into the debate on social tourism in the UK, and providing important implications for policy. Given that “active” labour market programmes in the UK have largely overlooked job-seekers positive mental health (see Dolton and O’Neil, 2002; Kluve, 2010), it is suggested that social tourism, if properly tailored and positioned, could be embedded into existing unemployment schemes, helping them to increase their effectiveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: G Geography (General) ; HD Industries. Land use. Labor