Barriers to children’s walking to school in Iranian and Chinese samples
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. 2020, 73 399-414. 10.1016/j.trf.2020.07.008
Factors that contribute to children’s walking to school have been investigated in previous research, which primarily focussed on socio-economic variables in high income countries. There is a general lack of studies which have examined mode choice differences on school trips in low and middle income countries. Focusing on parental social cognitive variables in addition to household socio-economic characteristics, the present study is among the first to compare barriers to children’s walking in daily commuting to schools across samples from two middle income countries: Iran and China. A self-administered questionnaire was devised and distributed among primary school pupils (7–9 years old) in Mashhad, Iran and Nanjing, China. The children were asked to take the questionnaires to their parents to complete and return the filled forms. A total of 671 (response rate of 90 percent) and 224 (response rate of 82 percent) completely filled questionnaires were returned in Mashhad and Nanjing, respectively. Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) showed that parents in Mashhad perceived higher risk and reported more worry of children being involved in road crashes when walking to school. Analyses revealed more safety favourable parental attitudes in the Chinese sample, compared to the Iranian sample. Parental attitudes towards transport safety were safer in the sample from Nanjing as compared to Mashhad. Hierarchical binary logistic regression showed that walking time from home to school and parental worry about road crashes were negatively associated with children’s walking to school in both samples. In the Iranian sample, results suggested that while household car ownership and higher family income were associated with a decreased probability that a child walk to school, the total number of children in the household increased the probability of walking to school.