G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Explaining Cultural Participation in Childhood - Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior to German and Finnish Primary School Children

List of Authors: af Ursin Piia-Kaisa
Publisher: University of Turku
Place: Turku
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-951-29-6622-6
eISBN: 978-951-29-6623-3


Participation in cultural activities is a human right acted out in various ways by children. Why does one child participate while another does not? This research contributes to the existing body of knowledge by applying Ajzen’s (1985; 1991) theory of planned behavior (TPB) to study the determinants of cultural participation in childhood. The research consists of five studies sharing a twofold aim: first, to develop a valid questionnaire to assess reasons why primary school children engage in cultural activities, and second, to explain their cultural participation cross-nationally. The questionnaire construction was based on a research design combining a qualitative interview (NStudy 1 = 23) to elicit children’s beliefs regarding highbrow cultural participation with subsequent quantitative studies. The set of categories resulting from the elicitation study was used to develop questionnaire items which then were tested for reliability and validity in two pilot studies (NStudy 2a = 99 and NStudy 2b = 383). In the resulting Study 3, 698 Finnish and 500 German children completed questionnaires designed to measure the components of the TPB (attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioral control) with an additional focus on their families’ socio-economic status. In these studies, visits to a museum were used as a criterion exemplifying highbrow activities. 

A confirmatory factor analysis supported the theoretically postulated six-factorial structure of the TPB measurement model for both countries (RMSEA ≤ .041; CFI ≥ .954; TLI ≥ .945; SRMI ≤ .045). The TPB constructs explained 60% of the variance in museum attendance in Finland and 65% in Germany. Despite the relatively high proportion of overall explanation, the contributions of some TPB constructs were questionable. While the control construct contributed most to the explanation of both intentions and behavior, other constructs failed as predictors. Overall, children felt positive toward museums, yet their intentions and actions were restricted by perceived barriers that more or less reflected the family of origin. This was shown by the indirect effect of socio-economic status; the higher the status of the family, the fewer barriers were perceived which in turn influenced the frequency of museum visits. These results applied for both countries. Despite some limitations, the scale development was successful and the research supports the use of the TPB in predicting children’s cultural participation. However, it is advisable to further examine, why intention and subjective norm failed to predict the behavior. Moreover, future research will need to tackle other forms of cultural activities to extend the results herein.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 21:34

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