Parent-child interaction and road behaviour: an exploratory study

Dunbar, G.; Lewis, V. and Hill, R. (2002). Parent-child interaction and road behaviour: an exploratory study. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20(4) pp. 601–622.



The relationship between parent-child interaction and child pedestrian behaviour was investigated by comparing parent-child communication to road-crossing behaviour. Forty-four children and their parents were observed carrying out a communication task (the Map Task), and were covertly filmed crossing roads around a university campus. The Map Task provided measures of task focus and sensitivity to another's current knowledge, which we predicted would be reflected in road-crossing behaviour. We modelled indices of road behaviour with factor scores derived from a principal-component analysis of communication features, and background variables including the age, sex and traffic experience of the child, and parental education. A number of variables were significantly related to road crossing, including the age and sex of the child, the length of the conversation, and specific conversational features such as the checking and clarification of uncertain information by both parent and child. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

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