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Adventurous play for a healthy childhood: facilitators and barriers identified by parents in Britain

Oliver, B. E. ORCID:, Nesbit, R. J. ORCID:, McCloy, R. ORCID:, Harvey, K. ORCID: and Dodd, H. ORCID: (2023) Adventurous play for a healthy childhood: facilitators and barriers identified by parents in Britain. Social Science & Medicine, 323. 115828. ISSN 1873-5347

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.115828


Rationale Adventurous play, where children take age-appropriate risks involving uncertainty, fear, and thrill, is positively associated with children's physical health, mental health, and development. There is growing concern that children's access to and engagement with adventurous play opportunities are declining in Westernised countries, which may have negative implications for children's health. Objective The current study aimed to ascertain the facilitators of and barriers to children's adventurous play most identified by parents in Britain and to determine whether these differ across socio-demographic and geographic groups. Methods This study analysed the responses of a nationally representative sample of 1919 parents who took part in the British Children's Play Survey. Two open-ended questions asked parents to identify what they perceive to be the facilitators of and barriers to their child's adventurous play. A quantitative coding scheme, developed using the qualitative framework identified by Oliver et al. (2022), was applied to parents' responses. Results A diversity in the most identified facilitators and barriers was found, including concerns about the risk of injury from adventurous play and the safety of society, positive attitudes about the benefits of adventurous play, as well as factors related to child attributes. In general, these were consistently identified across different socio-demographic and geographic groups, although some differences were found in barriers. Conclusions The findings of this research support the identification of key targets for those working with parents to improve children's adventurous play opportunities and ultimately their physical and mental health. Future research should seek to design and tailor interventions by asking parents about the support they would value.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:111285


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