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For immigrant groups, leisure activity has the potential both to increase familiarity with a new culture and to preserve cultural history and identity. Using a qualitative case study design, this research analyzed leisure activities of six older Korean Americans to determine both personal and cultural meanings of leisure. From a personal perspective, leisure was used to create two effects for the older adults: Ki-Bun-Chun-Whan, which is the experience of a shift in emotional atmosphere as a result of engaging in activities; and self-development activities, which provide the older adults with opportunities for learning or growth. Cultural meanings of leisure activities included the re-creation of Koreanness and the reliance on familiar patterns to create a sense of security in a still-strange land. Thus, with the individuals studied in this investigation, leisure activities were used more often for continuity and ethnic preservation than for cultural integration. Social workers can use leisure activities as avenues to increase knowledge and social participation, but they should also take into account the need to preserve cultural and collective identity in older immigrants.


Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Gerontological Social Work, vol. 36 no. 1/2 (2001), pp. 107-129; and: Social Work Practice with the Asian American Elderly, (2001), pp. 107-129.

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