Negative Influences of Holidays in Adults


This study examines the negative impacts of holiday celebrations on adult individuals. The research reviews eight studies on winter holidays and their impact on young adults, middle age people, elderly citizens, males and females before, during, and after the celebration of Christmas, St. Valentines, and St. Patricks Day. Also, it investigates the peculiarities of the holiday interpersonal communication on the example of greeting cards, exchanging the presents, and visiting relatives and friends. The study provides the examples of the connection between preparation for holidays and emotional vulnerability of women. In addition, the research examines the changes in moods while and after holidays. It investigates the causes of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks while celebrations, as well as after the holidays. Furthermore, this study examines the post-holiday negative tendencies on the example of the increase of suicide rates and deaths among vulnerable social groups. Besides, the research inspects alcohol-related problems while holidays and financial difficulties after celebrations.

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In society, it is used to consider holidays as the period of relaxation, rest, and family unification. However, holidays underwent modernization and industrialization together with other current realms. Therefore, celebrations have transformed into an exhausting work because of searching and spending money on gifts, decorating houses and flats, cooking holiday dishes, traveling long distances to meet relatives. Despite positive experience such as happiness and excitement of spending time in the company of close people, many individuals face with loneliness and social isolation. Others suffer from the stressful necessity to make a choice where to go when family members live in the different geographical locations. Particular groups may feel different, passive, or even rejected by society. Some persons have problems with alcohol, while a part of the community may have negative associations with the concept of holidays or follow different traditions. Moreover, people experience negative emotions after holidays in case of spending too much money, having debts, feeling exhausted, and unwilling to go back to work. Nonetheless, various social groups have different perception and reactions on feasts and celebrations, some studies have shown the typical tendencies of emotion change before, during, and after the holidays. Christmas and New Year are essential events for the family celebrations, but St. Valentines and St. Patricks Days make a part of the prevalent tradition of celebration. People spend a lot of time for shopping and preparations, so bright colors of lights, decorations, and presents, in the end, may not always perform the expected therapeutic effect. As a result, holidays have many negative influences on adults such sadness because of unjustified expectations, anxiety, excluding experiences in society, post-holidays alcohol-related, and material problems.

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Literature Review

Holidays are the social activities while which individuals use different from usual patterns of interaction. This paper reviews eight studies on how different holidays and specifically Christmas can negatively influence the adults. Fingerman and Griffiths studied the question how social interaction can reflect the impact of the holidays in individuals similar to the research of Collins, who narrowed the investigation to the group of widows. Both studies used the sample among ninety adults from ages of 24 to 87 years but Collins narrowed it specifically to widows. The measurement included a Christmas holiday card questionnaire, a background questionnaire, and individual interviews. The results of the studies demonstrated that apart from positive emotions, people had negative experiences. The researches proved that when people do not receive many greeting cards, they feel vulnerable, lonely, and rejected. According to Fingerman and Griffiths, the older people tended to receive more cards and, consequently, they were more upset because of social exclusion and missed expectations. Similarly, Collins provided the examples how widows suffered from sadness and feeling of hopelessness while the Christmas in cases when they did not have friends and relatives to send them holiday cards. In addition, widows recalled during holidays the loss of partners, lack of family contacts, so they tended to have more associations that were negative. Subsequently, the studies on social interactions on the matter of exchanging holiday cards confirmed the hypothesis of negative influences of holidays on grown-up individuals.

Negative influences of holidays in women

Numerous researches demonstrated in findings that the majority of the sample with mood problems and lower well-being during the holidays were women. The researchers Fitzgerald, Collins, and Kasser with Sheldon proved in their investigations that women are more predisposed to stress, bad mood, anxiety, and depression while celebrating holidays. The studies showed that females reported more negative experiences than men did, and women tended to be more family dependant and suffer from empty mood and overcommitment. Usually, women have more work to do around the house, and they are responsible for shopping, decorations, and preparation of dishes. As a result, they lose the ability to enjoy the holidays in general because of multitasking duties. Fingerman and Griffiths also supported the hypothesis on female predisposition to negative experiences while holidays. They proved on the example of greeting cards that women were more vulnerable and sad in cases of not getting congratulations and presents because they usually send and receive the greetings. Therefore, when women spent a lot of time for preparations and did not obtain the expected results, presents, and emotions, they tend to suffer from lousy mood and loss of interest for activities. Moreover, Collins highlighted that women with limited social ties experience a higher level of stress because of loneliness, lack of support, facing social exclusion, and, as a result, they became passive and in a depressive state of mood. Thus, women are more sensitive and emotionally unstable while holidays and they require additional support and inclusion into celebrations in the role of active participants.

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Anxiety, depression, and mood problems

The eight examined studies demonstrated in findings the common negative impacts of the celebrations in form of anxiety, depression, and mood problems. Fitzgerald as well as Martin and Quirk studied the social activities of the adults during holidays from the psychological point of anxiety. Due to researchers, stress was one of the widespread problems, which people had to deal with while interactions with others during fests and celebrations. While Shannon Martin and Stuart Quirk tested the various levels of anxiety in two important holidays, Valentines Day and St. Patricks Day, Preston Fitzgerald analyzed the manifestations of worry during Christmas holidays. In addition, the researchers investigated the concept of anxiety in the context of romantic holiday, family and peer celebration. During Martin and Quirks study, the participants were required to respond to text messages by answering questions according to the emotional state scales. The hypothesis of this experiment expected that respondents would experience anxiety on St. Patricks Day, and demonstrate a decrease in levels of worry during St. Valentines Day due to companionship on this date. The results of the research were generally consistent with this hypothesis and presented the connection between high expectations and the anxiety levels of the individuals. The more people wanted to have perfect holidays, the more anxious they were afterward in case something went wrong. In the same manner, Fitzgerald proved that while winter holidays individuals are under the tension of celebration traditions, and they often feel anxious, depressed, and in empty mood. The feeling of holiday expectation apart from inspiring increased the level of tension and worry in everyday life of citizens. Moreover, some professionals had ongoing workloads during holidays, and they were not able to celebrate holidays with their families and friends. Some individuals used to abuse alcohol in order to relax or as a part of traditions. As a result, alcohol intoxication created additional health problems and even developed depression. In cases when anxiety and depression lasted for several days, they resulted in panic attacks and occasionally in full-scale clinical depression. According to Kasser and Sheldon, women often have mood disorders while Christmas because of excessive loads while preparation and anxiety while choosing presents and cooking festive dishes.

One more tendency in the studying of negative influences of hobbies was the search for the connection between panic attacks, admissions, and holidays. The researchers a population-related longitudinal approach as well as administrative dataset based on claims among people. Outcomes of the research indicated that the majority of cases were reported on holidays and weekends than on other days, as well as the high rate of post-holiday deaths in the study of ceremonial events. The suicide rate decreased during Christmas and other holidays but rapidly increased just after the end of celebrations. Therefore, holiday provided various situations, in which people experienced negative emotions in contrast to positive expectations.

Post-holiday negative tendencies

Apart from negative experiences during the holidays, some researches proved the increase of the rate of post-holiday negative psychological conditions. The research of Randy and Lori Sansone, as well as the investigation of Shimizu & Pelham proved the existence of post-holiday mood problems and depressive states among adults. The finding demonstrated that the part-time decrease during the celebrations in the overall employment of psychiatric emergency services and admissions resulted in the immediate increase in psychopathology right away after the Christmas holiday. Therefore, R. Sanson & L. Sanson apart from a generally protective effect of Christmas, it caused exhaustion, mood disorders, and alcohol-related poisonings. Shimizu & Pelham, in their turn, went further and analyzed the rate of deaths before, while, and after the holidays. They assumed that people are able to postpone their deaths until they have experienced desirable social events. The researchers found out that citizens were mainly unlikely to die on the big holidays like Christmas or Thanks Giving in contrast to New Year but more often passed away just after the holidays. Other findings showed that decedents that did not have relatives and friends might die prior to or during holidays and only to be discovered after the event. Analyzing the rate of suicides, it decreased while holidays but similarly increased afterward as well as the number of requests for the psychiatric emergency services.

The researchers also discovered a financial aspect of negative post-holidays tendencies. Collins and Fitzgerald highlighted the harmful impact of expenditures-oriented nature of holiday celebration. Due to Kasser and Sheldon, one-sixth of all retail sales in the USA occurred before the Christmas season. As a result, this holiday partially lost it spiritual meaning and transformed into the act of satisfaction of material needs. In addition, some people took loans for buying presents in order not to feel different or excluded from traditional social interactions. As a result, many citizens of the USA remained in debt six months later. Therefore, financial difficulties result in long-term dissatisfactions and anxieties. In this manner, the studies demonstrate numerous post-holiday stresses and disappointments, of which people usually are not aware.


The period of holidays has a profound impact on the well-being of adults before, during, and after the celebration. In modern times, holiday lost their wholesome spiritual significance and obtained the profound role in the complex mechanism of the emotional and material social interactions. Apart from unification, holidays have the negative influences on individuals. Starting with the requirements for material resources and time for preparations, holidays do not always meet the expectancies. The creation of economic problems can have a negative impact on individuals in the form of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, holidays are days full of emotions and feelings, and in some cases, lead society to experience bad consequences. In cases when individuals cannot meet family members and friends for celebration due to distance in location, differences in traditions, death in the family, they experience solitude, anxiety, and even depression. Anxiety often has negative outcomes in form of panic attacks and sometimes leads to permanent clinical depression. Women tend to be emotionally vulnerable during celebration period because of organizational moments, and they are quickly disappointed in cases of unsatisfactory results of their activities. The negative influences of holidays may be prolonged afterward in the form of debts, emotional exhaustion, alcohol-related problems, loss of interest to the everyday activities, and even to deaths among lonely adults of the older age. However, the studies demonstrated that with lower expectations from celebrations and avoidance of the physical and emotional overwork, there is hope to prevent the negative influences of holidays on adults.

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