Active School Travel, Attitudes and Psychological Well-Being of Children

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour




Pergamon Press

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The decline in physical activity levels among children emphasizes a need for research on experiences related to children’s active travel. The present study investigates the relationship between mode use on school trips and psychological well-being (PWB) of children. Data were collected from 152 primary school children in Lower Austria. The paper-and-pencil survey investigated transport-related attitudes, travel behavior, and children’s emotional well-being depending on the travel mode used on their trip to school. Parents’ perceptions of their child’s travel mode on well-being were also collected in 31 in-depth interviews. Findings suggest that active school travel is positively associated with children’s PWB, and that travel-related attitudes towards modes are significantly related to well-being. However, it is difficult to determine the causal direction between the two variables as causal feedback loops can be assumed. Clear results can be obtained for the parental survey: Parents reported strong positive associations between active travel modes and the well-being of their children. More research with bigger sample sizes and higher quality measures should be conducted, including about non-school trips and with longitudinal datasets, to further evaluate the interrelations between children’s mode use, attitudes, and well-being and to determine the most successful strategies for increasing active mobility among children.

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