Long-term coping strategies for food safety issues: from consumers' perspective

Yu, Kaidong (2018) Long-term coping strategies for food safety issues: from consumers' perspective. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Food safety issues such as food hygiene, unsafe food and poisoned food have had a significant influence on consumers’ health and their daily lives for decades. The situation is deemed to be worse in China, which has a long history of using farm chemicals and frequent scandals involving food. However, the extant research on food safety issues has not been adequately examined, especially from the perspective of the consumer. Chronic food safety issues in China are believed to be a cause of psychological distress (Mathur et al., 2006). The wellbeing of consumers might be influenced by the issues in a more serious way, both psychologically and physically, over time. Hence, it is important to advance our understanding of consumers in terms of their psychological states and corresponding behaviours when faced with long-term and ongoing food safety issues.
This thesis aims to conceptualise and empirically explore consumers’ long-term coping strategies and to achieve an in-depth understanding of the factors that may predict and influence consumer coping behaviours in the context of a long-term and ongoing food safety situation.
In order to achieve the overall research aim, this research adopted a mixed-method approach comprising a qualitative study (consumer interview) and a quantitative study (questionnaire survey). Using semi-structured interview data from 20 consumers, the qualitative study identified specific psychological states and consumer coping actions when faced with food safety issues and informed and modified the conceptual framework. A total of 848 survey responses from the quantitative study were used to develop a new scale to measure and conceptualise consumer long-term coping strategies and tested the research hypotheses. Structural Equation Modelling in AMOS and regression with categorical variables in SPSS were used to test the hypotheses. The results suggest that the interplay of psychological states and cognitive appraisal and psychological states and personality traits, relate to different consumer long-term coping strategies.
The extant literature has shed some light on long-term coping in general; however, there is no literature on long-term consumer coping. This research theoretically and empirically contributes to the consumer coping theory by offering a comprehensive conceptualisation and measurement in terms of the multi-dimensional model of consumer long-term coping.
When faced with food safety issues, the specific emotions that consumers experience are under researched. Identifying specific emotions is important for two reasons: 1) the study of emotion and coping is inextricably linked. Different emotions involve distinct appraisals of the situation, which may lead to various forms of coping. This extends our knowledge of the emotion-coping relationship by linking the specific emotions to coping behaviours; 2) the behavioural tendencies of the specific emotions in chronic stressful situation can be articulated. Therefore, the current research contributes to the growing literature on consumer psychology by identifying and validating both negative and positive emotions simultaneously in a long-term and ongoing food safety situation. This is also the first study to identify the positive emotion of hope in the chronic food safety situation and consumer coping, advancing our understanding of consumers’ possible positive emotional appraisals when facing chronic food safety issues.
Furthermore, the current research challenges the transactional theory of stress, which establishes a strong correlation between the individual’s experience of stress and the emergence of coping behaviours. The findings from this research show that consumers demonstrate various coping actions to deal with the problematic situation even when no stress was expressed. This provides a new angle for discussing stress and coping as previous research overlooks the conditions of eliminated stress. This corrective, thereby, optimise the theory’s explanatory power.
Lastly, the antecedents of consumers’ decision to employ in particular ways of coping are not well articulated. Based on the results of this research, consumers’ situational cognitive appraisals and dispositional personality traits are identified as the influential moderating factors of the stress/emotion-coping relationships. This enriches extant understanding of the interactive patterns in consumers’ distinct coping responses.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Coping, consumer, long-term, food.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Anker, Dr. Thomas and Shaw, Professor Deirdre
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Dr Kaidong Yu
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30599
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2018 15:41
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2018 07:30
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30599

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