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Recreational behavior of Ukrainian citizens in context of health preservation


The purpose of the article is to investigate recreational features and self-preserving behavior of citizens in modern Ukrainian society; draw public attention to the need of finding ways to preserve and restore the health of the Ukrainian population. Empirical basis of the article are the results of the nationwide monitoring study, which was conducted by the Institute of Sociology National Academy of Sciences in 2016 with a sample representative of the key socio-demographic characteristics of the adult population (N = 1800). Authors also used monitoring results of 2012 and 2014 years. The 2014–2016 studies were conducted in all regions of Ukraine, except for Crimea.

We used a number of indicators as independent variables that can be classified as follows: 1) socio-demographic data; 2) socio-economic characteristics; 3) socio-psychological options. Galloping economic crisis in the country, the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, complications of private trips to Crimea, which traditionally was favorite vacation place for generations of Ukrainian residents, affected the recreational behavior of the population in 2015. Almost a third of respondents (31.3%) admitted to sociologists they did not have vacation at all (in 2013 the figure was 38.6%). Another third of respondents (31.4%) had a vacation, doing household chores (in 2013 – 25.3%); 7.5% –- were engaged during the holidays with additional work (in 2013 – 3.3%); 4.5% – went shopping, were involved in family affairs (in 2013 – 0.8%). Thus, the relative majority of respondents failed to allocate time for a fixed holiday in 2015 among an array of everyday affairs. However, despite the difficulties of life in post-maydan Ukraine, 45.3% of respondents did not stay at home during the holiday season (in 2013 the figure was 30%). Rested on the package tours (medical tourism, etc.) in Ukraine – 3.3% of respondents (in 2013 – 2.8%); had vacation in the resort place without package tour in Ukraine – 10.8% (in 2013 – 10.3%); had vacation abroad – 3.3% (in 2013 – 2.3%); rested out of the city, in the country – 14.6% (in 2013 – 8.1%); went to rest to relatives and friends – 13.3% (in 2013 – 6.5%); spent the holiday (vacation) otherwise – 0.7% of respondents (in 2013 – 1.9%). We found out the trend of domestic holidays, as well as significant prevalence of “non-organized” tourists over the “organized” traveling on vacation (holidays) with package tours. Respondents in 2016 were also asked the question “What is your general assessment of your health?”. We interpreted the answers according to 5-point scale (1 – “very bad”, 2 – “bad”, 3 – “satisfactory”, 4 – “good”, 5 – “excellent”), on which the appropriate indexes were built. Analysis of the recreational practices of Ukraine’s population by respondent’s gender revealed no significant differences. Some significant difference in recreational practice is fixed depending on the age of the respondents. Family and marital status, subjective assessment of respondents’ financial situation and social status identification are the impact factors on recreational behavior.

According to our research, the portrait of a typical vacation person are as follows: a) is most likely to be a man of 40 years; b) has graduated or is in the process of receiving degree; c) is usually resident of the capital or other major cities; d) has income higher than the average level (at least in the subjective assessment); d) likely is someone who appreciates their health. We found differentiating effect on the subjective assessment of their health of such independent variables as gender, age, type of employment (work) and to some extent – the type of settlement where the respondent lives.

The resulting sociological information can be useful for economists, medical professionals, specialists in the field of recreation and tourism, etc.

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