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Psychological determinants of risk taking by children: an integrative model and implications for interventions


Objectives: To draw on empirical findings of the psychological factors that cause elementary-school children to engage in risky play behaviors that can lead to injury, with the aim of developing an integrative model that can support intervention-program planning.

Methods: An extensive review of literature on this topic was conducted, determinants of risk taking for which there was empirical support were identified, and results were synthesized to create an integrative model of children’s risk taking.

Results: Research on risk taking in children is limited, but the findings support the importance of examining child, family and socio-environmental factors to understand children’s risk-taking behaviors.

Conclusions: Development of a model outlining the determinants of risk behaviors can provide a foundation for initiatives that aim to reduce such behaviors and prevent childhood injuries.

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