Objective: Assessed for age and sex differences in school-age children's reporting of injury-risk behaviors, ratings of injury-risk in various play situations, attributions for injuries (self, other, bad luck), and beliefs about their vulnerability to injury in comparison to their peers (more, less, comparable vulnerability).
Methods: We used a structured interview and drawings that depicted children showing wary or confident facial expressions when engaged in injury-risk play activities.
Results: Children's reported risk taking could be predicted from their risk appraisals, beliefs about the likelihood of injury, and attributions of injuries to bad luck, and these factors resulted 80% correct assignment of cases by sex in a discriminant analysis. The wary affect display resulted in higher injury-risk ratings than the confident display, with this effect being greater for girls than boys.
Conclusions: Cognitive-based factors differentiate boys from girls and contribute to sex differences in children's injury-risk behaviors.