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Title: Understanding walking and cycling using a life course perspective
Author: Jones, Heather Naomi
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Understanding of how walking and cycling change over time has been restricted to looking at time series data that reveals aggregate change, and time-limited longitudinal studies of individual behaviour. This thesis presents a study of the change and continuity in individual behaviour over the life course as well as inter-generational influence of, and inter-cohort similarities and differences in behavioural pathways. The behavioural trajectories of adults from two historically-separated birth cohorts, and parent-child dyads, were studied using biographical approach. Interpretive, visual biographies were produced that illustrated behavioural development through life events and transitions. Typologies were constructed to resolve common and distinct pathways in behavioural development. Behaviour change often accompanied changes in residence, employment, family structure and mobility resources. Some distinctions in trajectories were apparent along the dimensions of gender and cohort. The life-long potential for behaviour change was demonstrated by some adaptive, restorative and negative changes that occurred in later life. There was empirical suggestion that earlier cycling experiences were generative of, and influential on, later outcomes, and that some aspects of macro-level social and structural change had brought about cohort distinctions in the opportunity structure for walking and cycling over the life course. Findings were consolidated in a conceptual life course framework that proposed micro and macro-contextual influences of behaviour and addressed the temporal, gendered and inter-generational aspects of trajectory development. Emerging adulthood and, more tentatively, the work-retirement transition were periods of higher propensity for change that preceded periods of relative stability in the life course and behaviour. The findings have applications in the pursuit of measures to support life-long walking and cycling. Some recommendations for policy are made in light of indications that life course experience had distinguished some gender and cohort groups in their ability and readiness to make restorative change in behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available