Objective: Many injuries to children cannot be prevented without some degree of active behavior on the part of parents. A better understanding of social and cognitive determinants of parents’ injury prevention behavior and the identification of potential subgroups for targeted message delivery could advance the effectiveness of educational and behavioral interventions. This study assessed the degree to which parents’ injury prevention behavior is associated with theoretical determinants and examined whether this relation differs by age or birth order of child.
Design: Cross sectional observational study.
Setting: Three Midwestern pediatric clinics.
Subjects: 594 parents of children ages 0–4 attending routine well child visits.
Measures: Injury prevention attitudes, beliefs, and practices.
Results: Overall, only modest relations were observed between injury beliefs and attitudes and injury prevention behaviors. However, these relations differed substantially by child age and birth order, with stronger associations observed for parents of older first born children. Outcome expectations and social norms were more strongly related to injury prevention behavior among parents of preschool children than among parents of infants and toddlers, while attitudes were more predictive for parents of first born children than parents of later born children.
Conclusions: These findings highlight the complexity of relations between theorized determinants and behavior, and suggest the potential utility of using audience segmentation strategies in behavioral interventions addressing injury prevention.
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Competing interests: none.
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