Why Do Boys Engage in More Risk Taking Than Girls? The Role of Attributions, Beliefs, and Risk Appraisals
B Morrongiello and Heather Rennie; 1998
Assessed for age and sex differences in school-age children's reporting of injury-risk behaviors, ratings of injury-risk in various play situations, attributions for injuries (self, other, bad luck), and beliefs about their vulnerability to injury in comparison to their peers (more, less, comparable vulnerability).
We used a structured interview and drawings that depicted children showing wary or confident facial expressions when engaged in injury-risk play activities.
Children's reported risk taking could be predicted from their risk appraisals, beliefs about the likelihood of injury, and attributions of injuries to bad luck, and these factors resulted in 80% correct assignment of cases by sex in a discriminant analysis. The wary affect display resulted in higher injury-risk ratings than the confident display, with this effect being greater for girls than boys.
Cognitive-based factors differentiate boys from girls and contribute to sex differences in children's injury-risk behaviors.