Development and prevention of juvenile fire-related risk behaviour in the social learning process
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Playing with fire is the most common cause of fire death among children. Although many previous studies have focused on socio-demographic predictors of childhood fire deaths and pathological fire-setting behaviour, less attention has been paid to how the fire-related risk behaviours develop and how they can be reduced by involving schools. The aim of our research was to determine the main personal and environmental variables shaping children’s fire-related risk behaviour during the social learning process. The study was carried out in Estonia with a sample of 903 students from sixth grade classes. We analysed the children’s safety knowledge, experiences, social environment, and safety education at school compared to their declared frequency of fire-play. The study emphasizes the high prevalence of fire-play among students aged 12. We concluded that the most significant predictors of children’s high-risk fire-play were: being a boy, living separately from parents, lower fire safety knowledge, history of fire accidents, previous use of fire, parents’ unsafe behaviour at home, parents not being role models of safety, and a lower interest to learn safety issues. It is important to consider these risk factors when planning appropriate interventions for fire prevention. We conclude that in order to equally reach all risk groups it is necessary to develop the schools as community centres of youth injury prevention. We emphasize that schools should have a special role of compensating the deficiencies of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and social network to reduce the youth risk behaviour caused by social inequalitie
Cite: Klaos, M., Eensoo, D., Luht-Kallas, K., Piksööt, J. 2019. Development and prevention of juvenile fire-related risk behaviour in the social learning process. Proceedings Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, No. 18, pp. 139-171.