Perceived risk, risk taking, estimation of ability and injury among adolescent sport participants

J Pediatr Psychol. 2004 Sep;29(6):447-55. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsh048.


Objective: To determine the predictive validity of perceived risk, risk taking, estimation of ability, overefficacy, and previous injuries on actual injury among adolescents in sport; and to examine sex differences on these factors.

Methods: A cohort of 260 (148 male, 112 female) soccer players aged 11 to 14 years participated in a 3-month prospective injury study. Preseason written measures included self-reported perceived risk, previous injuries, risk taking and estimation of ability.

Results: Low levels of perceived risk and estimation of ability were associated with a significant increase in risk of injury, with odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 3.77-7.92. Positive relationships between injury and both estimation of ability and overestimation of ability were supported. Estimation of ability was also positively related to risk taking. In this study, however, risk taking was not directly related to injury, nor were previous injuries. Girls reported higher levels of perceived risk and lower levels of risk taking than boys. However, boys and girls reported similar estimation of ability and overestimation of ability and subsequently incurred similar numbers of injuries.

Conclusions: Perceived risk and estimation of ability represent significant psychological risk factors for injury in adolescent sports. Sex differences in perceived risk, risk taking, and previous injuries should be considered when developing environmental and behavioral injury-prevention programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sex Factors
  • Soccer / injuries*