Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Psychosocial Factors Correlated with Sufficient Consumption Behavior of Students in Thailand and Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Psychosocial Factors Correlated with Sufficient Consumption Behavior of Students in Thailand and Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine and compare the structural equation model of psychosocial factors related to sufficient consumption behavior between students in Thailand and Malaysia. For the sample of this study, 364 undergraduate students from Thailand and 360from Malaysia were recruited, a total of 724 students. A series of 8 structured questionnaires with summated rating scales and 1 questionnaire on demographic characteristics were used to measure the aforementioned constructs of the hypothesized model. The findings are as follows: 1) The structural equation model of sufficient consumption behavior of the Thai and Malaysian students was adjusted. The sufficient consumption behavior was directly affected by materialism (-.54), attitude towards sufficient consumption behavior (.37), and character strengths (.21). The total causal variables accounted for 89% of the variance in the students' sufficient consumption behavior. 2) There was a difference in the structural model of the causal factors between students in Thailand and Malaysia. The direct effect of future orientation & self control on their attitude towards sufficient consumption behavior was different, showing that the effect of students from Malaysia (.70) was higher than that of students from Thailand (.17). 3) Latent means of sufficient consumption behavior, attitude towards sufficient consumption behavior, materialism, future orientation & self control, character strengths, family upbringing, peer influence, and media influence among Malaysian students scored higher than the Thai students.

Keywords: cross cultural research, sufficient consumption, Thai, Malaysian

1. Introduction

In the past several decades, the Southeast Asian region has experienced escalating economic growth. From urban expansion to industrial-driven developments, each country has witnessed tremendous changes in its social and cultural structure. Consequentially, commercial competitiveness and consumerism become unavoidable. Such changes result in the birth of consumption values that significantly affect both social and cultural structures (McGregor, 2013). In the meantime, consumerist culture has reached every class, gender and age of the population, particularly, the youth. Increasingly, children and teenagers have become prime target groups of consumer products, making purchases mainly out of their curiosity and lack of life experience. In the Thai context, reports have been done on excessive consumption behavior of students, for instance, on the continually increasing usage of mobile phones. A report on children and teenagers reveals that the percentage of elementary school students who use mobile phones is as high as 35.83% while the percentage of users in high school and university climbs up to 63.24 (Provincial Child Watch, 2006). A survey done on the food consumption behaviors of the Thai population indicates that more than 40.0% of Thai teenagers and young adults (15-24 years of age) engage in risky eating behaviors such as consuming foods high in fat, snacks, or sodas, with a frequency of up to 3-4 days per week (Thailand National Statistical Office, 2009).

How teenagers spend their free time is also another issue worth looking into. Spending free time creatively can be beneficial for both the teenagers themselves and the society as a whole. In Thailand, teenagers often use the Internet to browse for information, products, and services (79.6%); to play and download games (65.4%); to access news, and read newspapers and magazines (57.4%); to download movies and music, watch television and videos, and listen to the radio (56.4%); and to correspond via email (55.9%). This reflects how Thai children and teenagers use the Internet: Primarily, they access entertainment materials, with education being much less prominent a motive (Office of the Promotion and Protection of Children, Youth, the Elderly and Vulnerable Groups, 2013).

A survey on the excessive consumption behaviors of Malaysian teenagers by Sorrooshian and Teck (2014), they found that over 45% of the students chose to spend their money on shopping and recreational activities and 60% on mobile phones, with prices ranging from 600-2,000 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately 6,000-20,000 baht), which is a considerably high price for students with no income of their own. …

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