Does Exposure to General Warnings in Framed Messages Reduce Risk Behaviors in School-Aged Children?
Children in a heightened positive mood state engage in more risk-taking behaviors (Morrongiello et al., 2017; Morrongiello et al., 2014; Seasons, 2018). Framed safety messages (gain- or loss- framed) can counteract this increase in risk taking that occurs when children are in a heightened positive mood (Seasons, 2018). In previous research, framed safety messages have consisted of behaviourally targeted messages that place an emphasis on avoiding risk behaviors leading to specific injuries and outcomes. The current study examined whether delivering more general warning messages in framed contexts had a differential effect on reducing risk taking in children when in a heightened positive mood. 26 children (aged 7-9 years old) were exposed to a general safety message (gain-frame, loss-frame, or control message) regarding play behaviors on an obstacle course (risk taking measure). Children’s risk-taking running the obstacle course was measured before and after a positive mood induction. Results indicated that the mood induction was successful and led to increased risk-taking. Gain-framed and loss-framed safety messages both counteracted this increase in risk-taking, but loss-framed messages yielded larger reductions. There was no differential effect based on exposure to general versus behaviorally targeted framed safety messages. Implications for injury prevention are discussed.