Physical Risk Taking in Preschoolers: A Comparison Between Children’s and Mothers’ Perceptions
Children's injuries are a serious public-health problem, but they could be substantially reduced by proper prevention. According to the literature the best predictor of injuriesis the physical risk taking. In this study we examined preschoolers' and mothers' perceptions of children's physical risk taking. Participants included 203 children (M age = 60 months), their mothers and their teachers. We first compared children's and mothers' answers about desired and allowed level of risk in some play situations,and then we verified if children's and mothers' ideas equally predicted the risk for injuries at school. The teachers completed the Injury Behavior Checklist. Findings showed that children's desired risk taking was higher than their mothers believe. We also found that children at school, in absence of their parents but under the supervision of another adult, behaved according to their own wishes. Our findings suggest that mothers are not always reliable informants about the risk taking behavior of their young children while they are at school. Children's desires are a good predictor of their actual behavior, and for this reason interventions aiming at the reduction of injuries should be directed not only toward parents and teachers but also to the children themselves.
KeywordsUnintentional injury Risk assessment Child interview Physical risk taking Preschoolers
This work was supported by “Sapienza” University of Rome, “Ateneo 2015” (grant number: C26A15CI77).
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Sapienza, University of Rome) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
ADN: designed and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. ASB: collaborated with the design and writing of the study. EC: collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript. GM: collaborated in the editing of the final manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Berk, L. (2013). Child development. 9th edition. Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Bronson, M. (2000). Self-regulation in early childhood: Nature and nurture. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Huber, G., Marchand-Martella, N. E., Martella, R. C., & Wood, W. S. (1996). A survey of the frequency of accidents/injuries for preschoolers enrolled in an inner-city Head Start Program. Education and Treatment of Children, 19(1), 46–54.Google Scholar
- ISPESL – Istituto Superiore per la Prevenzione e la Sicurezza del Lavoro (2017) - Quaderni per la salute e la sicurezza. Le piscine. (Booklets for health and safety. The swimming pools). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-017-2289-9 Accessed October 2017.
- ISTAT (2016). Report incidenti domestici anno 2014. (Report of home accidents year 2014). https://www.istat.it/it/archivio/183893. Accessed October 2017.
- Kårstad, S. B., Kvello, Ø., Wichstrøm, L., & Berg-Nielsen, T. S. (2013). What do parents know about their children’s comprehension of emotions? Accuracy of parental estimates in a community sample of pre-schoolers. Child: Care, Health and Development, 40(3), 346–353. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12071.
- Kit, B.K., Akinbami, L.J., Isfahani, N.S., & Ulrich, D.A. (2017). Gross motor development in children aged 3–5 years, United States 2012. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-017-2289-9.
- Lahat, A., Degnan, K. A., White, L. K., Martin McDermott, J., Henderson, H. A., Lejuez, C. W., & Fox, N. A. (2012). Temperamental exuberance and executive function predict propensity for risk taking in childhood. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 847–856. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579412000405.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Morrongiello, B. A., & Hogg, K. (2004). Mothers’ reactions to children misbehaving in ways that can lead to injury: Implications for gender differences in children’s risk taking and injuries. Sex Roles, 50(1–2), 103–118. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SERS.0000011076.43831.a6.Google Scholar
- Morrongiello, B. A., & Matheis, S. (2004). Determinants of children’s risk-taking in different social–situational contexts: The role of cognitions and emotions in predicting children’s decisions. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 25(3), 303–326. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2004.04.003.Google Scholar
- Morrongiello, B.A., Corbett, M.R., & Kane, A. (2011). A measure that relates to elementary school children’s risk of injury: the supervision attributes and risk-taking questionnaire (SARTQ). Injury Prevention, 189–194. https://doi.org/10.1136/ip.2010.028548.
- Morrongiello, B. A., Corbett, M., McCourt, M., & Johnston, N. (2006). Understanding unintentional injury-risk in young children I. The nature and scope of caregiver supervision of children at home. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31(6), 529–539. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsj045.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- Morrongiello, B. A., Cusimano, M., Barton, B. K., Orr, E., Chipman, M., Tyberg, J., Abhaya Kulkarini, A., Khanlou, N., Masi, R., & Bekele, T. (2010a). Development of the BACKIE questionnaire: A measure of children’s behaviors, attitudes, cognitions, knowledge, and injury experiences. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 42(1), 75–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2009.07.006.Google Scholar
- Morrongiello, B. A., Zdzieborski, D., & Normand, J. (2010b). Understanding gender differences in children’s risk taking and injury: A comparison of mothers’ and fathers’ reactions to sons and daughters misbehaving in ways that lead to injury. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31(4), 322–329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2010.05.004.Google Scholar
- Müller, E., Seiler, C. W., Perren, S., & Simoni, H. (2015). Young children’s self-perceived ability: development, factor structure and initial validation of a self-report instrument for preschoolers. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 37(2), 256–273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-014-9447-9.Google Scholar
- Ratcliffe, I., Franzsen, D., & Bischof, F. (2011). Development of a scissors skills programme for grade 0 children in South Africa. A pilot study. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy, 41(2), 24–32.Google Scholar
- Sethi, D., Towner, E., Vincenten, J., Segui-Gomez, M., & Racioppi, F. (2008). European report on child injury prevention. Rome: World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.Google Scholar
- Stagni Brenca, E., & Di Blasio, P. (2013). Valutazione del rischio di infortuni in bambini d’età prescolare: Uno studio preliminare sulla Injury Behavior Checklist. (Evaluation of accidents risk in preschool children. A preliminary study). Ricerche di Psicologia, 1, 47–62.Google Scholar
- Trimpop, R. M., (1994). The psychology of risk taking behavior. In G. E. Stelmach & P. A. Vroon (Eds.) Advances in psychology (pp. 107). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
- WHO and Unicef (2005). Child and adolescent injury prevention: A global call to action. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2006/9241593385_eng.pdf. Accessed Ocotober 2017.