Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Ethnicity, Gender, and the Theory of Planned Behavior: The Case of Playing the Lottery

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Ethnicity, Gender, and the Theory of Planned Behavior: The Case of Playing the Lottery

Article excerpt

Introduction

Researchers have long been interested in why some people participate in certain leisure activities while others do not. Typically, studies use either proximal (e.g., attitudes, norms, motivations) or distal (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender) variables to explain similarities and differences in participation. As Mannell and Kleiber (1997) recognize, however, the former's explanatory ability is hampered by the lack of a "comprehensive social psychology of gender or cultural differences in leisure" (p. 27). Likewise, Hutchison (2000) holds that the latter's explanatory ability-at least in terms of ethnic and racial variation in leisure engagement-has been hindered by a lack of attention to intervening variables. As it happens, there is a framework that could address both of these issues; the theory of planned behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991).

According to the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991), an individual's behavior is largely dependent on his or her intention to perform that behavior which, in turn, is determined by: (a) the person's attitudes toward the behavior, (b) the subjective norms he or she believes significant others have concerning the behavior, and (c) his or her perception of whether the behavior can be performed (i.e., perceived behavioral control). The TPB's proximal variables have been used to explain people's participation in hunting (Hrubes, Ajzen, & Daigle, 2001; Rossi & Armstrong, 1999), boating, biking, climbing, jogging, and beach activities (Ajzen & Driver, 1991, 1992), casino gambling (Oh & Hsu, 2001), drinking alcohol (Trafimow, 1996), attending dance classes (Pierro, Mannetti, & Livi, 2003), engaging in physical activity (Courneya, 1995), and playing basketball (Arnscheid & Schomers, 1996). Multiple regression results generally support the TPB. Hrubes et al., for example, found that attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control all predicted intentions to hunt, and intentions (but not perceived behavioral control) predicted hunting behavior. Likewise, Oh and Hsu found attitudes, subjective norms, and three types of perceived behavioral control all predicted casino gambling intentions, and intentions (but not the perceived behavioral control variables) predicted casino gambling behavior. Courneya found that attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control all predicted physical activity intentions. It should be noted, however, that none of these three studies or the other studies cited above, took into account the potential effects of race, ethnicity, or gender.

Until recently this omission was also not uncommon in social psychological research. Though rare, these contemporary studies do seem to support the theory of planned behavior's applicability across ethnic and cultural groups-while recognizing that important differences do exist. For example, Malhotra and McCort (2001) examined how Chinese and American students selected a pair of athletic shoes using the TPB's precursor, the theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). Multiple regression results supported the use of the theory of reasoned action cross-culturally although, as the authors expected, affective concerns were more important for the U.S. students while cognitive concerns were more important for the Hong Kong students. In another study, Blanchard et al. (2004) investigated whether ethnicity moderated the association between the TPB and physical activity. They found that while subjective norm and self-efficacy made significant and unique contributions to intention for both African-Americans and Caucasian Americans, the attitude/intention relationship was significantly stronger for African-Americans. Similarly, Godin et al. (1996) used the TPB to look at condom usage among Latin American, South Asian, and English-speaking Caribbean immigrants to Canada. The researchers found that while attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control were significant predictors for Latin American and English-speaking Caribbean study participants, only attitudes and perceived behavioral control were significant for South Asian participants. …

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