A scenario methodology in which mothers imagined themselves and their school-age children in different home situations was used to examine mothers' reactions to sons and daughters when the children were misbehaving in ways that could, and sometimes did, result in injuries. Prior to injury, mothers predominantly expressed anger to sons and disappointment to daughters, focusing primarily on safety issues in response to daughters' misbehavior and discipline issues in response to sons' misbehavior. Once an injury resulted, mothers became concerned about their children, but the degree of concern was greater for injuries to daughters than to sons. Sons' risky misbehavior was attributed predominantly to nonmodifiable characteristics, whereas daughters' risky misbehavior was attributed to factors that a parent could expect to influence. Consistent with these attributions, mothers advocated active injury-prevention approaches to prevent injury recurrence to daughters, but did not believe that much else could be done to prevent injury recurrence to sons. Generally, the pattern of results support the notion that mothers expect more risky behavior of sons than of daughters, are more concerned about injuries to daughters than sons, and believe they can have greater influence on the risk-taking behavior of daughters than sons. Implications of these results for understanding gender differences in children's risk-taking and injuries are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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