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Drivers of Children's Travel Satisfaction
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies (from 2013). (CTF)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4120-8823
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is twofold: Firstly, it explores the reasons parents state for choosing the car to take their children to school; Secondly, it investigates how the characteristics of the journey relate to children’s wellbeing, mood, and cognitive performance. This thesis consists of three papers (Papers I, II, and III). Participating in Paper I were 245 parents of schoolchildren aged between 10 and 15 in Värmland County, Sweden. These parents answered a questionnaire wherein they stated to what degree certain statements correlated with their decision to choose the car. In Paper II, 237 children in grade 4 (aged 10-11), in the City of Staffanstorp, Sweden, recorded all their journeys in a diary over one school week, also reporting on their travel mode, current mood while travelling, activities on arrival, and experiences vis-à-vis those activities. Participating in Paper III was a sample of 345 children aged between 10 and 15 attending five public schools in Värmland County, Sweden. These children rated their current mood, filled out the Satisfaction with Travel Scale (capturing the travel experience), reported details about their journeys, and took a word fluency test.

Parents’ wish to accompany their children to school, and the convenience of the car, both impact upon the travel mode decision. In addition, parents also seem to choose the car regardless of the distance between home and school. The findings further reveal that the mood children are in varies with how they travel and where they go, and that there is a difference between boys’ and girls’ experiences. Children who travel by car experience the lowest degree of quality and activation, something which is maintained throughout the school day (especially for girls). Social activities during travel bring a higher degree of quality and excitement, while solitary activities bring more stress. The findings further show that using a smartphone, or doing a combination of activities during the journey, results in better cognitive performance. Thus, it is concluded that the mode choice that parents make for their children correlates with those children’s mood and experience. Specifically, where and how children travel, what they do when they travel, and how long they travel for affect their experiences, mood, and/or cognitive performance.

Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is twofold. Firstly, it explores parents’ stated reasons for choosing the car for their children’s school journeys. Secondly, it investigates the relationship between the characteristics of a journey (i.e. travel mode, travel time, and activities conducted while travelling) and children’s wellbeing (through domain-specific satisfaction), current mood, and cognitive performance. The overall findings show that parents value the car both for its convenience and for the possibility of accompanying their children. Parents also use the car regardless of the distance between home and school. Travel affects children in various ways; for instance, doing certain activities while traveling can help boost cognitive performance and make children feel happy and excited. Notably, being passive during the journey makes children feel stressed and those who travel to school by car are the most tired during the school day. This implies that parents’ travel mode choice affects children’s wellbeing and cognitive performance. These insights are important when it comes to addressing current challenges relating to children’s day-to-day travel: How they experience their day-to-day travel may contribute toward how children travel in the future.

Abstract [sv]

Den här avhandlingen har två delsyften. Först undersöks vilka skäl föräldrar anger för varför deväljer att skjutsa sina barn till skolan med bil. Ett andra syfte är att undersöka hur detta val påverkarbarns mentala hälsa via självskattad upplevelse av skolresan och hur de känner sig vid ankomst(humör). Ytterligare ett syfte är att undersöka hur upplevelsen av skolresan påverkar hur barnenpresterar när de kommer till skolan. Avhandlingen innehåller tre artiklar. I Artikel I deltog 245föräldrar till barn i årskurs 4, 6 och 8 i värmländska skolor. Föräldrarna angav i vilken utsträckningolika skäl påverkar deras val att skjutsa barnen till skolan med bil. I artikel II deltog 237 barn (varav101 flickor) från årskurs 4 i Staffanstorp, Skåne. Barnen förde resdagbok över alla resor de gjordeunder en vecka. I dagboken beskrev de vart de reste, vilka färdmedel de använt, deras humör underresan (som skattades som ledsen-glad och trött-pigg), vilka aktiviteter de ägnat sig åt vidslutdestinationen samt deras upplevelser av dessa aktiviteter. I Artikel III deltog 345 barn frånårskurs 4, 6 och 8 i Värmland. Istället för resdagbok skattade barnen sitt humör, hur nöjda de varmed resan genom att fylla i Satisfaction with Travel Scale adapted for Children (STS-C), resedetaljersamt gjorde ett ordflödestest direkt vid ankomst i skolan.

Resultaten visar bland annat att föräldrars önskan att spendera tid med sina barn och praktiskaaspekter med bil ligger till grund för valet av bil. Huruvida det är ett långt eller kort avstånd tillskolan påverkar inte valet att använda bil. Barns humör varierar beroende på hur de reser(färdmedel) och vart de reser (destination). En skillnad observerades också mellan flickor ochpojkar och mellan olika årskurser där t.ex. fickor påverkades mer negativt av att resa med bil änpojkar. Barn som reser med bil till skolan är minst nöjda (upplevde en lägre grad av kvalitet) ochpå sämre humör (är känslomässigt mindre aktiva) vilket också håller i sig under skoldagen. Att ägnasig åt sociala aktiviteter (konversera med vänner och familj) under resan bidrar till en högre upplevdkvalitet och mer upprymdhet medan barn som ägnat sig åt aktiviteter utan sällskap upplever enhögre grad av stress. Resultaten visar också att barn som använder sin smartphone eller kombinerarolika aktiviteter under resan presterar bättre på kognitivt test.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017. , p. 61
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:41
Keywords [en]
children’s travel, wellbeing, current mood, travel mode choice, activities during travel, cognitive performance
Keywords [sv]
Barns reseupplevelse, humör, färdmedelsval, aktiviteter under resan, kognitiv prestation
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-64720ISBN: 978-91-7063-818-3 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-913-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-64720DiVA, id: diva2:1150591
Public defence
2017-12-08, 11D227, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-17 Created: 2017-10-19 Last updated: 2018-04-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Children’s Travel to School: Satisfaction, Current Mood, and Cognitive Performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children’s Travel to School: Satisfaction, Current Mood, and Cognitive Performance
2017 (English)In: Transportation, ISSN 0049-4488, E-ISSN 1572-9435, Vol. 44, no 6, p. 1365-1382Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigate whether travel mode, travel time, and travel activities influence children’s satisfaction with their travel to school, their current mood, and their cognitive performance after arriving at school. A sample of 344 children (165 girls) between the ages of 10 and 15 were recruited at five public schools in Värmland County, Sweden. Directly after arriving at school, the children rated; how they felt on two scales ranging from very sad to very happy and from very tired to very alert; filled out the Satisfaction with Travel Scale adapted for children; reported details about their journeys; and took a word-fluency test. The results showed that traveling by school bus and walking or cycling were experienced as having a higher quality than traveling by car. Children who engaged in conversation during their journeys reported a higher quality and more positive feelings than children who were passive during their journeys. A shorter journey was experienced as having a higher quality and resulting in more positive feelings. Children traveling for longer durations, and using their smartphones or doing a combination of activities during their journeys, performed better in the word-fluency test.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017
Keywords
Children, School travel, Satisfaction, Current mood, Cognitive performance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38305 (URN)10.1007/s11116-016-9705-7 (DOI)
Projects
SAMOT
Funder
VINNOVA, 2014-05335
Available from: 2015-11-03 Created: 2015-11-03 Last updated: 2018-07-17Bibliographically approved
2. Children's affective experience of every-day travel
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children's affective experience of every-day travel
Show others...
2013 (English)In: Journal of Transport Geography, ISSN 0966-6923, E-ISSN 1873-1236, Vol. 29, p. 95-102Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study aims to evaluate if children’s affective experience of every-day travel varies depending on travel mode and destination of travel. More specifically, what are children’s reported valence (unpleasantness–pleasantness) and activation (deactivation–activation) while travelling to different destinations and does this experience have spill-over effects on how they perceive activities at the destination. 206 Children (101 girls) recorded their travels in a diary throughout a school week along with reports of travel mode, experience of every-day travel, activities on arrival, and the experiences of activities. Results showed that average valence and activation was significantly lower while travelling to school than travelling to other destinations. Degree of activation during a school day was significantly lower for those who had travelled by car than for those who had cycled to school. Girls experienced less activation than boys on their way to school and during a school day when they had travelled by car. It is concluded that children’s affective experiences differ depending on how they travel and where they go. Moreover, there is a difference between boys’ and girls’ experiences.

Keywords
Valence, Activation, Travel mode, Commuting to school
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-26568 (URN)10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2013.01.003 (DOI)000317640400010 ()
Available from: 2013-03-05 Created: 2013-03-05 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. What Drives Them to Drive?: Parents' Reasons for Choosing the Car to Take Their Children to School
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What Drives Them to Drive?: Parents' Reasons for Choosing the Car to Take Their Children to School
2017 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 8, p. 1-8, article id 1970Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Children's school journeys have changed vastly during recent decades: More children are being driven to school in private cars instead of walking and cycling, with many who are entitled to a free school bus service still being driven. Earlier research into travel mode choice has often investigated how urban form impacts upon mode choice regarding school journeys-in particular how urban form hinders or enables the use of the active mode. This paper quantitatively explores parents' stated reasons for choosing the car and the relationship between these reasons and the decision to use the car to take their children to school. We additionally investigate the relationship between sociodemographic factors, distance, and both the stated reasons and the actual mode decision. A sample of 245 parents (194 women) of school children aged 10-15 in the County of Varmland in Sweden were included in the study. The results of PLS-SEM show that the factor Social convenience has a direct relationship with the frequency of car use indicating that the wish to accompany the child and the convenience of car impacts on car choice. If the child is not allowed to travel independently, the parents choose the car to take him/her to school. Sociodemographic factors had a direct relationship with the stated reasons, whereby parents with a higher level of education valued safety/security less. Quite surprisingly, distance (i.e., environmental factor) did not affect car use, indicating that parents drive their children to school regardless of distance. By isolating the particular reasons for choosing the car, this paper focuses on a potentially important missing piece as regards finding out what motivates the increasing car usage in children's school journeys. An increased knowledge of what motivates the decision to take children by car is important for effective policies aimed at changing parents' inclination toward choosing the car.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2017
Keywords
school travel; stated reasons; car choice; parental decision; children and adolescents
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-65906 (URN)10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01970 (DOI)000414624100001 ()29167653 (PubMedID)
Funder
VINNOVA, 2014-05335
Available from: 2018-01-25 Created: 2018-01-25 Last updated: 2018-04-18Bibliographically approved

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