The Development of a Conceptual Framework for Identifying Functional, Expressive, Aesthetic, and Regulatory Needs for Snowboarding Helmets
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The purpose of this research was to identify the design characteristics and attitudes that impact the use of snowboarding helmets and to test statistically a proposed conceptual framework for identifying perceived importance of functional, expressive, aesthetic, and regulatory (FEAR) needs of snowboarding helmets for current snowboarders. Data for this study was collected online. The final sample was composed of 391 participants, which represented a 13.67% response rate. Multiple comparisons were used to examine mean differences among the FEAR variables, as well as attitudes toward helmet use. A multiple linear regression was used to test four proposed hypotheses. The results of hypotheses revealed that there was an impact between attitudes toward helmet use and perceived importance of functional needs, but this relationship depended on the level of expressive needs, aesthetic needs, and helmet usage. The typical impact of functional needs on attitudes toward helmet use was positive (slope = .013) when all variables were at their respective means (Hypothesis 1). Hypothesis 2 tested to see if there was an impact between attitudes toward helmet use and perceived importance of expressive needs, but again, this relationship depended on the level of functional needs and helmet usage. The typical impact of expressive needs on attitudes toward helmet use was positive (slope = .014) when all variables were at their respective means. Similarly, the impact between attitudes toward helmet use and the perceived importance of aesthetic needs was dependent on the level of functional needs and helmet usage. The impact of aesthetic needs on attitudes toward helmet use was typically negative (slope = -.012) when all variables were at their respective means (Hypothesis 3). Finally, Hypothesis 4 looked at the impact between attitudes toward helmet use and the perceived importance of regulatory needs. Unlike the other three hypotheses, this relationship did not depend on any other variables. The impact of regulatory needs on attitudes toward helmet use was positive, and the strength of association was .010. Although hypothesis 1-3 were substantially supported, and hypothesis 4 was fully supported, from a statistical point of view, the interaction effects between the independent variables (i.e., FEA needs) and the covariate (i.e., helmet usage) limit the findings, so we can not really state that the hypotheses were supported. However, based on information obtained from the respondents in this study, the application of a FEAR needs assessment of snowboarding helmets could help to enhance the overall performance of snowboarders. In other words, the improvement of helmet functionality, expressive qualities, aesthetic attributes and regulatory needs would provide a more enjoyable snow activity to participants. Thus, the conceptual framework of the perceived importance of FEAR needs would be acceptable to understand the attitudes toward helmet use among snowboarders.
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