Suspicious minds: Can features of the local neighbourhood ease parents' fears about stranger danger?

Sarah Foster, Lisa Wood, Jacinta Francis, Matthew Knuiman, K. Villanueva, B. Giles-Corti

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Declines in children's independent mobility are frequently attributed to parents' fears about stranger danger, yet there is limited understanding of the factors that might aggravate (or ease) these concerns. We examined the social and built environment correlates of parents': (1) fears about strangers harming their child; and (2) perceptions of the likelihood this would actually happen. We also tested whether associations differed by area socio-economic status (SES) as parents in low income neighbourhoods, typically with more crime, may hold greater fears for their children's safety. Results suggest that regardless of SES, neighbourhood features that encouraged pedestrians, whilst minimising vehicle traffic, were most conducive to parents perceiving a safer neighbourhood. The natural surveillance generated by a more walkable neighbourhood may help alleviate parents' fears about strangers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume42
Early online date18 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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abstract = "{\circledC} 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Declines in children's independent mobility are frequently attributed to parents' fears about stranger danger, yet there is limited understanding of the factors that might aggravate (or ease) these concerns. We examined the social and built environment correlates of parents': (1) fears about strangers harming their child; and (2) perceptions of the likelihood this would actually happen. We also tested whether associations differed by area socio-economic status (SES) as parents in low income neighbourhoods, typically with more crime, may hold greater fears for their children's safety. Results suggest that regardless of SES, neighbourhood features that encouraged pedestrians, whilst minimising vehicle traffic, were most conducive to parents perceiving a safer neighbourhood. The natural surveillance generated by a more walkable neighbourhood may help alleviate parents' fears about strangers.",
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AU - Wood, Lisa

AU - Francis, Jacinta

AU - Knuiman, Matthew

AU - Villanueva, K.

AU - Giles-Corti, B.

PY - 2015/6

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N2 - © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Declines in children's independent mobility are frequently attributed to parents' fears about stranger danger, yet there is limited understanding of the factors that might aggravate (or ease) these concerns. We examined the social and built environment correlates of parents': (1) fears about strangers harming their child; and (2) perceptions of the likelihood this would actually happen. We also tested whether associations differed by area socio-economic status (SES) as parents in low income neighbourhoods, typically with more crime, may hold greater fears for their children's safety. Results suggest that regardless of SES, neighbourhood features that encouraged pedestrians, whilst minimising vehicle traffic, were most conducive to parents perceiving a safer neighbourhood. The natural surveillance generated by a more walkable neighbourhood may help alleviate parents' fears about strangers.

AB - © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Declines in children's independent mobility are frequently attributed to parents' fears about stranger danger, yet there is limited understanding of the factors that might aggravate (or ease) these concerns. We examined the social and built environment correlates of parents': (1) fears about strangers harming their child; and (2) perceptions of the likelihood this would actually happen. We also tested whether associations differed by area socio-economic status (SES) as parents in low income neighbourhoods, typically with more crime, may hold greater fears for their children's safety. Results suggest that regardless of SES, neighbourhood features that encouraged pedestrians, whilst minimising vehicle traffic, were most conducive to parents perceiving a safer neighbourhood. The natural surveillance generated by a more walkable neighbourhood may help alleviate parents' fears about strangers.

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