Background and objectives: Safety education often targets parental risk perception. Predictors of risk perception, however, are not well known, thus limiting the feasibility of effective safety education. Accordingly, in this study, a range of predictors of maternal risk perception were examined.
Methods: A random sample of 870 mothers in northern Sweden was included in the study. Three different questionnaires, with scenarios of a burn injury, a bicycle injury in the home environment, and a bicycle injury in traffic, were completed by the subjects. Multiple linear regression models tested the possible influence of causal attributions, normative beliefs, and sociodemographic and behaviour-related variables on mothers' risk perception.
Results: Only 14-23% of the variance in mothers' risk perception could be explained by the multivariate models. Causal attribution to the child was found to be the most important predictor of maternal risk perception.
Conclusion: Present theoretical models give few clues about how to design educational models that might influence risk perception. To make safety education more effective, other modifiable factors that influence parental safety behaviour, such as subjective norms and self-efficacy, might be better targets.