Inj Prev 15:312-316 doi:10.1136/ip.2008.019539
  • Original Article

Risk and injury portrayal in boys’ and girls’ favourite television programmes

  1. K Pfeffer,
  2. J Orum
  1. Department of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr K Pfeffer, Department of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK; kpfeffer{at}
  • Accepted 4 March 2009


Objectives: To analyse the injury-related content of children’s television programmes preferred by boys and by girls, and to determine whether there are more televised models of unsafe behaviour in programmes preferred by boys.

Methods: Parents of 4–11-year-old children identified their children’s favourite television programmes. Content analysis of 120 episodes of children’s favourite programmes was used to quantify safe and risky behaviours, actual injuries and potential injuries. The gender of the characters portraying the behaviours was also analysed.

Results: More risky behaviour was portrayed in the boys’ favourite programmes (mean per episode  = 6.40) than in the girls’ favourite programmes (mean = 2.57). There were almost twice as many potential injuries (n = 310) as actual injuries (n = 157). Potential injuries were portrayed more often by male characters (mean = 1.92) than female characters (mean = 0.98), mostly in the boys’ favourite programmes. Actual injuries occurred more often to male characters (mean = 1.04) than to female characters (mean = 0.27) overall.

Conclusions: Television programmes preferred by this sample of boys portrayed male role models engaging in risky behaviours and injuries more often than the programmes preferred by the sample of girls.


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