Assessing psychosocial correlates of parental safety behaviour using Protection Motivation Theory: stair gate presence and use among parents of toddlers

Health Educ Res. 2008 Aug;23(4):723-31. doi: 10.1093/her/cym058. Epub 2007 Oct 18.


Unintentional injury due to falls is one of the main reasons for hospitalization among children 0-4 years of age. The goal of this study was to assess the psychosocial correlates of parental safety behaviours to prevent falls from a staircase due to the lack of or the lack of adequate use of a stair gate. Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey using self-administered questionnaires mailed to a population sample of 2470 parents with toddlers. Associations between self-reported habits on the presence and use of stair gates and family and psychosocial factors were analysed, using descriptive statistics and multiple regression models, based on Protection Motivation Theory. The presence of stair gates was associated with family situation, perceived vulnerability, response efficacy, social norms and descriptive norms. The use of stair gates was associated with family situation, response efficacy, self-efficacy and perceived advantages of safe behaviour. The full model explained 32 and 24% of the variance in the presence of stair gates and the use of stair gates, respectively, indicating a large and medium effect size. Programmes promoting the presence and adequate use of stair gates should address the family situation, personal cognitive factors as well as social factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Motivation*
  • Netherlands
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Safety*