Mothers' responses to sons and daughters engaging in injury-risk behaviors on a playground: implications for sex differences in injury rates

J Exp Child Psychol. 2000 Jun;76(2):89-103. doi: 10.1006/jecp.2000.2572.


Videotapes of children engaging in injury-risk activities on a playground were shown to mothers, who were asked to intervene by stopping the tape and saying whatever they would to their child in the situation shown. Results revealed that mothers of daughters were more likely to judge behaviors as posing some degree of injury risk, and they intervened more frequently and quickly than mothers of sons. Mothers' speed to intervene positively correlated with both children's injury history and their risk-taking tendencies, indicating that mothers of children who were previously injured and who often engaged in injury-risk behaviors had a higher degree of tolerance for children's risk taking than mothers of children who experienced fewer injuries and less frequently engaged in injury-risk behaviors. Mothers' verbalizations to children's risk taking revealed that daughters received more cautions and statements communicating vulnerability for injury, whereas sons received more statements encouraging risk-taking behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Reinforcement, Verbal
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Socialization
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*