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Title: The influence of mass media on countryside leisure visit behaviour compared to the influence of childhood socialization : a structural model of relationships
Author: Calver, Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0001 2411 8511
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2017
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Those involved with the management of the countryside have an imperative to understand the drivers of behaviour towards it. This is particularly so, since the UK population is largely urban-based and yet still retains an attachment to green open spaces and engagement with the pastoral scene (DEFRA, 2009; Natural England, 2016). The media has been recognised as playing an important role in sustaining this attachment but its relative influence compared to the role of the family, other social groups and education is less well understood in this context. The aim of this research is to provide a measure of the influences that underpin this attachment, specifically to develop a better understanding of the role of mass media as a component of the socializing factors which influence attitudes towards leisure behaviour in the countryside. The measurement and exploration of these influences is based upon a pilot study, followed by a survey of 2775 respondents, in six urban centres in England during 2011 and 2012. The data was analysed in order to investigate the relative role of developmental and mass media influences on countryside leisure behaviour. The cognitive and emotional processes that catalyse these relationships were also evaluated. A structural model of relationships was then developed, which provided predictive measures of the formative influences upon countryside leisure behaviour. Three key findings emerged from the research. The first confirmed that interest in countryside leisure may be derived from early socialization influences but significantly there are sub-groups for whom this early experience is irrelevant. These sub-groups developed their interest in countryside in later adulthood, inspired by the cultural discourse of rural themes represented in the media. Secondly the research identified that the relative influence of early exposure to countryside interests from family and friends is weaker than the direct effect of media on current countryside visit behaviour. Thirdly the predictive relationship suggests that countryside knowledge, the normative and control influences of others and the media, work largely through emotional rather than cognitive processes in their effect upon countryside visit behaviour. A further outcome of the research identified a control influence upon attitudes and engagement with the countryside, driven by pragmatic considerations of countryside as a resource for housing and infrastructure needs. The significant findings from this research make a contribution to knowledge regarding the processes that influence countryside leisure attitudes and behaviour. Specifically, it confirms the importance of developing media strategy that reflects the emotional bond that people have with the countryside and targeting robust market segments, differentiated by media responsiveness and developmental influences. An effective media strategy is particularly important for those sections of the population, who have had little encouragement to engage with the countryside during childhood but are, in adulthood, responsive to its portrayal in the media.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available