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J Pediatr Psychol. 2005 Oct-Nov;30(7):562-70. Epub 2005 Feb 23.

Children's risk taking behaviors: the role of child-based perceptions of vulnerability and temperament.

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  • 1Clinical Child Psychology Program, The University of Kansas, 2010 Dole Human Development Center, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA.



To examine the relationship between perceptions of vulnerability, temperament, and children's risk taking behavior in a simulated home environment.


Children and their primary caregivers were interviewed regarding temperament and perceptions of vulnerability to injury. In addition, children's interactions with simulated hazards were observed in an environment representing a typical home.


Children whose caregivers reported higher levels of activity were significantly more likely to report lower perceptions of vulnerability to injury and show increased risky behavior. After controlling for gender differences, children's risky behaviors were predicted from child-based perceptions of vulnerability.


Perceptions of vulnerability and active temperaments represent significant risk factors for potential injuries in the home. Modifying perceptions of vulnerability as well as identifying at-risk temperaments for injuries is important to consider when developing effective interventions.

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