Conference Paper

An extended Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict university student's intentions towards social exclusion

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Abstract

Introduction Social exclusion from group activities is a prevalent issue among students in higher education and poses challenges to the creation of a safe and inclusive learning environment. We conceptually replicated and extended a study by Hayashi and Tahmasbi (2021) to investigate to what extent the Theory of Planned Behaviour may predict university students’ behavioural intention towards in-person peer social exclusion in a hypothetical group work setting. Relevance Social exclusion describes an individual purposefully being left out of a group setting (Williams & Govan, 2013). The ways onlooking people react to social exclusion and other bullying incidents are various (e. g. Salmivalli, 2014; Bauman et al., 2020; Harrison et al., 2022). Assertive onlookers intervene in a situation in a prosocial way and can influence group norms (Abbott & Cameron, 2014). The present study will enhance knowledge about factors predicting prosocial and antisocial behavioural intentions to intervene in a hypothetical situation with the aim to support resource-oriented pedagogical work in higher education (Lambe & Craig, 2020). Fostering factors which contribute to prosocial behavioural intentions in students may contribute to their acting as assertive onlookers who challenge antisocial behaviours among their fellow students and encourage a safe social environment from within the peer group. Theoretical background The Theory of Planned Behaviour assumes that a person’s attitudes towards a behaviour, their subjective norms deriving from significant others, and their perceived behavioural control predict their intention to execute the behaviour in question (Ajzen, 2012). The intention is considered a proxy and the most reliable predictor of behaviour (Fishbein & Ajzen, 2010). The Theory of Planned Behaviour is open to extensions and several potential predictors have been examined previously. In the above mentioned study by Hayashi and Tahmasbi (2021) empathy and anticipated regret were found to be significant predictors of intention, over and above the standard variables. Hypotheses In line with their conceptualisation, we included these in our replication study and hypothesised the following for preliminary analyses: H1a-1c: The more positive the attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control, the likelier a person intends to intervene H2: Higher empathic concern will significantly predict intention over and above attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control H3: Higher anticipated regret will significantly predict intention over and above attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control. Methods and sample We collected data using an online questionnaire distributed to undergraduate students. The final sample consisted of N=420 undergraduate students (MAge= 22.76 years, SDAge= 4.02 years; 47.0% male, 50.6 % female, 2.4 % other). Following a text describing a hypothetical group work situation asking participants to imagine being an onlooker of social exclusion, the intention to intervene (4 items, α =.90), attitude (7 items, α =.77), subjective norms (6 items, α =.77), perceived behavioural control (5 items, α=.76), Davis’ (1980) empathic concern (7 items, α=.80) and Hayashi and Tahmasbi ‘s (2021) anticipated regret (2 items, r=.74**) were assessed. Preliminary analyses and results Preliminary regression analyses were conducted in IBM SPSS 28. The data supported H1a-1c, indicating that attitude (ß=.312), subjective norms (ß=.220) and perceived behavioural control (ß=.252) were significant (all p<.001) predictors of intention. However, entering empathic concern and anticipated regret led to a strong decrease of the prediction by subjective norms (ß=.084; p=.057) which became insignificant. While anticipated regret (ß=.307; p<.001) significantly predicted intention (as H3 assumed), empathic concern did not (ß=.056; p=185) (contrary to H2). Outlook towards final paper Subsequent more complex analyses based on latent constructs will further examine the relationships among the standard and additional predictor variables and consider more specified outcome variables describing prosocial and antisocial behavioural intentions towards incidents of social exclusion in university students.

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