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Happiness Through Vacationing: Just a Temporary Boost or Long-Term Benefits?

Jeroen Nawijn
Bibliographical information:
Nawijn, J. (2011) Happiness Through Vacationing: Just a Temporary Boost or Long-Term Benefits? Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(4), 651-665.



Does vacationing add to our happiness in the long run? This question was
addressed in a study of 3,650 Dutch citizens who reported their leisure travel every
3 months during 2 years and rated their happiness at the end of each year. Participants who
had been on vacation appeared to be marginally happier, in terms of hedonic level of
affect, than those who had not. This difference in Affect balance between vacationers and
non-vacationers is probably due to a very minor causal effect of vacationing on hedonic
level of affect. Possibly, vacationing is positively reminisced and these memories allow for
the prevalence of more positive affect in people’s lives. Happiness did not predict vacationing.
The effect of holiday trips on vacationers’ happiness is mostly short-lived; among
vacationers, happiness was unrelated to the number of trips and days spent on vacation. A
separate analysis of vacationers, who value vacationing most, yielded the same results.
Implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords: Affect, Holiday trips, Longitudinal, Subjective well-being, Tourism

This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com
DOI 10.1007/s10902-010-9221-y

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