Abstract

A survey of 880 residents revealed diverse attitudes toward Gold Coast Schoolies Week, an annual high school-leaver celebration characterized by partying and drinking. ‘Conditional supporters’ (33%) or ‘conditional opponents’ (34%) provided complex assessments of costs and benefits, as per social exchange theory, that include considerations of ‘noncosts’ and ‘nonbenefits’. With regard to social representations, ‘opponents’ (18%) are more likely to be influenced by mass media, social circles and negative personal exposure, whilst ‘supporters’ (15%) are more likely to rely on their own and their children’s schoolie experience. Balanced media coverage is one means for improving resident perceptions.

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Resident Perceptions of a Controversial Annual Event

A survey of 880 residents revealed diverse attitudes toward Gold Coast Schoolies Week, an annual high school-leaver celebration characterized by partying and drinking. ‘Conditional supporters’ (33%) or ‘conditional opponents’ (34%) provided complex assessments of costs and benefits, as per social exchange theory, that include considerations of ‘noncosts’ and ‘nonbenefits’. With regard to social representations, ‘opponents’ (18%) are more likely to be influenced by mass media, social circles and negative personal exposure, whilst ‘supporters’ (15%) are more likely to rely on their own and their children’s schoolie experience. Balanced media coverage is one means for improving resident perceptions.