SHOPPING MALLS AS PLACES FOR HANGING OUT: CONTEXTUAL PLACE ANALYSIS OF THE 'PLACE CONSUMPTION'
Earlier research has indicated a strong relationship between drug use and leisure-time activity, and, specifically, the connection between the time spent in shopping malls and the abuse of legal and illegal substances. The aim of the authors' research is to examine the characteristics and interconnections of lifestyle, drug use and other problem-behaviours of youth spending time in shopping malls. In their research they have combined the methods of qualitative environmental psychological analysis (systematic setting observation) with normal population surveys. Results confirmed that the 'plaza-visiting behaviour' of frequent visitors (performing several visits per week or visiting every day) differ characteristically from the behaviour of those who are less frequent visitors. Frequent visitors are more likely to go to these places forenoon, and visit these places alone. However, they also consider shopping malls as places to meet friends. A strong relationship has been found between drug use and the frequency of visiting shopping malls. Those who visit shopping malls monthly, or less frequently, have shown a lower prevalence rates than the average of the whole sample, while those visiting these places (almost) daily have shown much higher prevalence rates of illegal substance use than the average. Similar results have been found in terms of other problem-behaviours. Beyond the presentation of the results the environmental psychological attributes of shopping malls are reviewed in the study.
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