“Practice What You Preach”: Induced Hypocrisy as an Intervention Strategy to Reduce Children's Intentions to Risk Take on Playgrounds


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Abstract

ObjectiveAn intervention based on induced hypocrisy was conducted to reduce children's intentions to show fall-risk behaviors on playground equipment.MethodsTo induce hypocrisy participants (7–12 years) advocated for safe-play behaviors while being made mindful about past failures to play safely on playgrounds. To measure the impact of the intervention, children created posters indicating which playground behaviors they Would Do and Would Not Do; children believed they would have to demonstrate the behaviors endorsed on their posters.ResultsThe intervention resulted in significant reductions in the risk behaviors children endorsed both for risk behaviors targeted (specific effects) and nontargeted risk behaviors (generalized effects). Assessing the mechanism by which the intervention produced changes in behavioral intentions revealed it yielded changes in cognitions that predicted subsequent reductions in risk-taking intentions.ConclusionsThe present intervention was successful in reducing children's intentions to engage in risky playground behaviors and it did so by changing cognitions.

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