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132 Can exposure to framed messages about safety reduce risk behaviours by school-aged children?
  1. Mackenzie Seasons,
  2. Emily Weinberger,
  3. Barbara Morrongiello
  1. University of Guelph, Ontario Canada


Statement of Purpose The current study aimed to determine whether delivering framed safety messages (gain-framed, loss-framed, and no frame) in poster format reduced physical risk-taking behaviours when children were in a positive mood. Previous research has shown that when in an elevated positive mood state, children engage in more risk behaviours than when in a neutral mood state, which leads to greater risk of injury (Morrongiello et al., 2014). Research in this area is particularly important for school-aged children, who are becoming increasingly independent and more vulnerable to injury outside of the home (Morrongiello et al., 2013).

Method/Approach 28 children (7–9 years old) were exposed to a message (gain-frame, loss-frame, or no frame (control) message) regarding play behaviours on a specific risk-taking measure (an obstacle course). Children’s risk-taking was measured before and after a positive mood has been induced, and the impact of framed safety messaging on risk-taking behaviours was examined.

Results Results indicated the positive mood induction was successful and led to increased risk taking when participants were in a positive mood. Both gain- and loss- framed messages differentially counteracted this mood effect and led to reduced risk taking, but the loss-framed message reduced risky behaviours to a level significantly lower than the participants’ baseline risk-taking behaviours.

Conclusions Results demonstrate that even in a positive mood, children can be influenced to engage in safer play behaviours with the use of message framing (particularly loss-framed messaging).

Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science Given that physical risk taking was mitigated by framed safety posters (particularly loss-framed posters) even when children were in a positive mood, framed posters may be a cost-effective and useful intervention in places like public parks, where children are often happy and inclined to engage in increased risk-taking.

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