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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