Bidirectional processes: Can a broader perspective aid in understanding unintentional injuries for school-age children?

Wells, Melissa
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

The notion of bidirectionality (i.e., parents not only influence children's behaviour but children also influence parents' behaviour) was examined by exploring whether consistency in children's risk-taking related to mothers' accuracy in predicting children's behaviour in injury-risk situations, and if mothers' accuracy scores, in turn, related to rate of unintentional injury for their school-age children. Child and maternal responses to questionnaires and injury-risky situations were compared to estimate maternal accuracy in predicting children's risk-taking. Relations between child risk-taking and parental accuracy, and parental accuracy and children's rate of injury, were examined. Child consistency in risk-taking related to parental accuracy in judging children's risk-taking, and degree and direction of accuracy related to child injury rates. Thus, consistent with the notion of bidirectional processes, a child characteristic (consistency in risk-taking) related to a parent characteristic (accuracy in predicting children's behavior in injury-risk situations). Contrary to expectations, however, increased parental accuracy did not predict lower injury rates. This suggests the need to bridge a gap that appears to exist between parental knowledge and application of that knowledge to ensure their child's safety.

bidirectionality, children's risk-taking, mothers' accuracy, prediction, children's behaviour, injury-risk situations, unintentional injury, school-age children