Applying a parent-child relationship framework to explore factors relevant to safety in pre-adolescence
Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children and adolescents, and while much research has examined how parents manage safety issues for young children, little is known about how they do so in the pre-adolescent years as demands for autonomy increase. The current study focused on youth in this transition stage (age 10 to 13 years), examining parent-child disagreements about safety, including how these are resolved and what factors impact these resolutions. Consistent with research in younger populations, sex differences emerged such that female children were more likely to spontaneously disclose safety issues to their parents than were males, and parents were more likely to attempt to discuss the issue and provide teaching to their female children. Relationship quality emerged as an important factor as well, particularly for male children, such that a positive parent-child relationship increased the likelihood of parental teaching in response to a safety event for boys only. Further, child characteristics (inhibitory control and risk taking propensity) were found to moderate the relationships between parental source of knowledge of safety-relevant events and subsequent methods of resolution. Implications for pre-adolescent safety and future research are discussed.