Gender Differences in Caregivers' Attitudes to Risky Child Play in Britain: A Cross-Sectional Study.

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Article
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Abstract

BACKGROUND: This study examines gender differences in parental attitudes toward risky play for 5- to 11-year-old boys and girls in Britain. METHODS: Analyses use data from the cross-sectional, nationally representative British Child Play Survey. Survey respondents were caregivers of primary-school-aged children living in Britain. Parent self-reported their risk tolerance in play via the Tolerance for Risk in Play Scale (TRiPS) and the Risk Engagement and Protection Survey (REPS). The REPS includes subscales that assess caregiver attitudes around "Protection from Injury" (PFI) and "Engagement with Risk" (EWR) in relation to children's play. Multiple linear regression compared caregiver gender differences in TRiPS, REPS-PFI, and REPS-EWR at the item level, and overall. Associations between child gender and these scales were also examined. RESULTS: Among 1919 caregivers, no significant gender differences emerged in mean TRiPS (P = .72), REPS-EWR (P = .58), and REPS-PFI (P = .34) scores. Activity-specific differences were evident in caregivers' tolerance for individual risky play activities (15/31 activities). Parents of boys exhibited higher risk tolerance (B = -4.48, P < .01) and willingness for their child to engage in risky play (B = -0.63, P < .01) than parents of girls. CONCLUSIONS: While there was no difference between male and female caregivers overall attitudes, gender differences were prominent for specific play activities and attitudes, with male caregivers demonstrating higher tolerance for the riskiest activities. Parents of boys expressed more permissive attitudes toward engagement in risky play. Further work is needed to identify why there is gender-related variation in these attitudes and should be considered in interventions that support parents in enabling adventurous play opportunities for children.

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Keywords
parents, pediatrics, risk-taking
Journal Title
J Phys Act Health
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
1543-3080
1543-5474
Volume Title
Publisher
Human Kinetics
Sponsorship
MRC (MC_UU_00006/5)