Update – Tuesday 17 February 2015
Original post – 26 November 2014
Konstantinos Kakoudakis is a PhD student at Nottingham University who dropped into the charity’s office to meet with me and our Programme Manager John Kinnear earlier this week. Konstantinos (or Kostas as he is better know) was a regular visitor to the charity last year while he worked on the research for his thesis. He was looking at how our work impacted on families, particularly where at least one member of the family was unemployed.
Over the past year his thesis has been taking shape and I was delighted that Kostas was able to share the results of his research with us. He described the results as potentially very important as he was able to demonstrate how a short break could make a significant difference to the way individuals perceived themselves. This is known as self-efficacy and is defined as the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.
Self-efficacy was shown to improve to such an extent that individuals felt better able to both search for vacancies and secure employment. Even where family circumstances, ill-health or child-care responsibilities, precluded full-time employment individuals took up volunteering or further education.
Previous research has shown the improvement a break can deliver for a variety of measures such as well being and mental health but this study has, I believe, significant implications for the way in which the UK could improve its back-to-work programmes.
I have long seen the anecdotal evidence that giving people a chance to view the world and their place in it from the different perspective that a break away from home provides can help give an individual the motivation to change their life for the better.
With Kostas’ work and the research papers that will flow from it we will have even more evidence to back up our claim that Holidays Matter.