Children's perceptions of dangerous substances

Pfeffer, Karen and Wilson, B. (2004) Children's perceptions of dangerous substances. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 98 (2). pp. 700-710. ISSN 0031-5125

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/PMS.98.2.700-710

Abstract

The aim of this research was to examine age differences in children's perceptions of dangerous substances. Children's responses to photographs of child models encountering alcohol, a syringe, medicine, glue, and household bleach were coded for recognition of substance, awareness of potential danger, and understanding of danger or harm. Responses from 59 children (28 girls and 31 boys, who were all children of the required age in an urban primary school) were compared across three age groups (6-7 years, 8-9 years, and 10-11 years). 15 to 18 of 20 children in each of three age groups recognised all the dangerous substances. Significant differences across age groups were found for awareness of the potential harm from alchohol, glue, and medicine, but not for the syringe or bleach. Children reported less serious consequences from ingesting alcohol than other substances, the consequences of sniffing glue tended to be confused with the sticking properties of glue, children's understanding of transmission of germs, disease, and AIDS through syringes was varied, and there was a tendency among the older children to underestimate the potential harm of self-administration of medicines. Findings were discussed in relation to children's concepts of danger and safety education.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The aim of this research was to examine age differences in children's perceptions of dangerous substances. Children's responses to photographs of child models encountering alcohol, a syringe, medicine, glue, and household bleach were coded for recognition of substance, awareness of potential danger, and understanding of danger or harm. Responses from 59 children (28 girls and 31 boys, who were all children of the required age in an urban primary school) were compared across three age groups (6-7 years, 8-9 years, and 10-11 years). 15 to 18 of 20 children in each of three age groups recognised all the dangerous substances. Significant differences across age groups were found for awareness of the potential harm from alchohol, glue, and medicine, but not for the syringe or bleach. Children reported less serious consequences from ingesting alcohol than other substances, the consequences of sniffing glue tended to be confused with the sticking properties of glue, children's understanding of transmission of germs, disease, and AIDS through syringes was varied, and there was a tendency among the older children to underestimate the potential harm of self-administration of medicines. Findings were discussed in relation to children's concepts of danger and safety education.
Keywords:Children, child development, Children's concept of danger, Safety education
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:727
Deposited By: Jill Partridge
Deposited On:28 Sep 2007
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:23

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