Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Management, Operations and Marketing


The present study grew out of concern for children, particularly preadolescents, being targeted by marketers when their level of cognitive and social development could make them vulnerable to marketing and peer pressure. The potential connection between peer status and wearing branded clothes, with a possible flow on to feelings of self-worth was a specific area of concern. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between children’s perceptions of their peer status and their intention to wear branded clothes. This involved exploring the determinants of intention (attitude, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control) to wear branded clothes in a peer based social setting, the school ‘mufti-day’ (casual clothes day).

A study of 100 children (10 to 12 years) was conducted using the theory of planned behaviour as the theoretical framework. This framework was complemented by the addition of latent functions of behaviour. Parent data were also collected via an online questionnaire. Results showed that children who intend to wear branded clothes in a social setting with their peers were characterised by more positive attitudes towards brands, which were influenced primarily by their parents. Subjective norm and perceived behavioural control were not significant predictors of intention to wear branded clothes. More positive attitudes towards wearing branded clothes were driven by stronger beliefs that brands would enhance peer-value and popularity. These beliefs were more likely to be held by children with higher perceived social acceptance, who had parents who modelled wearing brands and also provided their children with branded clothes. The influence of peers on children’s intention to wear branded clothes related primarily to the child’s more positive attitudes which were socially oriented.

Theoretically, the present study extends and customises the theory of planned behaviour to include antecedent attitudinal beliefs based on latent as well as manifest functions of behaviour. Methodologically, the study utilises not only standard questionnaires to measure key constructs, but also a newly developed picture sorting task (a projective technique) to measure children’s latent beliefs about the consequences of wearing branded clothes. Practically, the study provides parents, policy makers and marketers with empirical data which can be used to make more informed decisions regarding the extent to which children should be exposed to, and are impacted by, marketing by branded clothing companies.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.