n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Children's unintentional injury in cultural context

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



This paper considers the cultural context of children's unintentional injuries using Super and Harkness' developmental niche theory as a theoretical framework. Examples are drawn from a review of research in Nigeria and Britain. The 'developmental niche' comprises three major subsystems that function together and interact with each other. These are (1) the physical and social setting in which the child lives, (2) the psychology of the caretakers and (3) customs of child-care. Risk and protective factors in the physical and social setting are discussed in relation to family characteristics, family income and the physical environment of the home. Caretaker psychology is discussed with examples of parental beliefs about children's responsibilities, capabilities and risks, as well as attributions of responsibility for injury. Customs of child-care in Nigeria and Britain are discussed in relation to domestic and pedestrian injury. Age and sex differences in injury rates in Nigeria and Britain are discussed in relation to the adaptation of the developmental niche for children as they develop and the limitations to such adaptations. It is concluded that the development niche theory provides a useful framework for studying and explaining children's unintentional injuries in cultural context.

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