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Children’s Travel to School: Satisfaction, Current Mood, and Cognitive Performance
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4120-8823
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
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.

Keyword [en]
Children's experiences
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38305OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-38305DiVA: diva2:866680
Projects
SAMOT
Funder
VINNOVA, 2014-05335
Available from: 2015-11-03 Created: 2015-11-03 Last updated: 2015-11-23
In thesis
1. Experiences of Everyday Travel: Through the Lens of a Child
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experiences of Everyday Travel: Through the Lens of a Child
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate how children experience their everyday travel. More specifically how do certain travel characteristics influence children’s current mood, experiences of their everyday travel, and their cognitive performance. The thesis consists of two papers (Papers I and II). In Paper I, 206 children (101 girls) in grade 4 (aged 10), in the city of Staffanstorp in Sweden, recorded all their journeys in a diary during one school week, along with reports of their travel mode, their current mood while travelling (ranging from very sad to very happy and from very tired to very alert), their activities on arrival, and their experiences regarding those activities. In Paper II, a sample of 344 children (165 girls) between the ages of 10 and 15 was taken at five public schools in Värmland County, Sweden. The 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.

The findings show that children’s immediate affective experiences (current mood) vary 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 also maintained throughout the school day (as the case with activation). Social activities during travel add to 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, as do longer traveling times. It is concluded that where and how children travel, what they do when traveling, and for how long they travel all affect children’s travel experiences, mood, and/or cognitive performance. This thesis sheds light on a neglected research area – which is the experiences of travel – through the lens of a child.

Abstract [en]

The purpose of this licentiate thesis is to examine how children experience their everyday travel. More specifically, do travel mode, travel time, and travel activities influence children’s experiences of their everyday travel, how they feel, and how they perform at school. In Paper 1 we investigate whether children’s moods, while travelling, vary with travel mode and destination. In Paper 2 we investigate whether children’s experiences of travel and current mood vary with travel mode, traveling time, and activities during travel. We also investigate whether the travel experience affects cognitive performance. The overall findings of the two studies suggest that where and how children travel, what they do when traveling, and for how long they travel all affect children’s travel experiences, moods, and cognitive performance. These novel findings bring important knowledge of the impact of a journey. Children are the next generation of traveler; how they experience their day-to-day travel may contribute toward their future travel behavior and influence how societies travel in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad University Press, 2015. 30 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:52
Keyword
Children’s travel experience, current mood, travel mode, activities during travel, cognitive performance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38309 (URN)978-91-7063-671-4 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-12-11, Agardhsalen, 11D 257, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-11-23 Created: 2015-11-03 Last updated: 2015-11-23Bibliographically approved

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