Predicting and reinforcing children's intentions to wear protective helmets while bicycling

Public Health Rep. 1992 May-Jun;107(3):283-9.


The researchers undertook to identify the factors that are most likely to influence children's intentions to use bicycle helmets. To determine the most important intention influencing factors, a random sample of 797 students in grades 4 through 6 completed a self-administered questionnaire concerning their beliefs about helmet use. They were asked about their perceptions of the risk of riding bicycles unprotected, the severity of possible head injuries, and about other bicycle-safety related behaviors. Factors that best predicted the student's intentions to use bicycle helmets involved both behavioral beliefs and normative beliefs. Analysis of factors influencing those with low intentions to use helmets, compared to those with high intentions, suggests the most effective messages that health planners can provide preadolescents to influence them to use helmets. They are that helmet use is fun and attractive, helmets provide a new look and a sporting image, and friends approve of and value this behavior. Parents, and particularly mothers, can reinforce their children's intentions to use helmets and their involvement should be encouraged.

MeSH terms

  • Bicycling*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Reinforcement, Social*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires