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Experiences of Everyday Travel: Through the Lens of a Child
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.
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 [en]
Children’s travel experience, current mood, travel mode, activities during travel, cognitive performance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38309ISBN: 978-91-7063-671-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-38309DiVA: diva2:866754
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
List of papers
1. Children's affective experience of every-day travel
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Children's affective experience of every-day travel
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2013 (English)In: Journal of Transport Geography, ISSN 0966-6923, E-ISSN 1873-1236, Vol. 29, 95-102 p.Article 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.

Keyword
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
2. 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
2016 (English)In: Transportation, ISSN 0049-4488, E-ISSN 1572-9435Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
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, 2016
Keyword
Children, School travel, Satisfaction, Current mood, Cognitive performance
National Category
Social Sciences 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: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Westman, Jessica

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