The impact of peer presence on children's risk-taking

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Sedore, Lisa K.
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University of Guelph

The impact of peer presence on nine and ten year old children's risk-taking was examined. Children were asked to make risk decisions in the context of selecting the height at which they would be willing to walk across a balance beam apparatus and made their decisions either alone or in the presence of a same-age unknown peer of the same sex. Participants making their selections in the presence of a peer made riskier decisions (crossed at a higher height). While males generally made riskier decisions overall, males and females were similarly influenced by a peer's presence, both increasing the level of risk they were willing to make when being observed by a same-age peer. In addition, correlational analyses suggested a link between several characteristics of temperament (including sensation-seeking and characteristic fear and excitement in response to risk situations) and risk behaviour.

peer presence, children, risk-taking, temperament, risk behaviour