A Multimethod Analysis of Risk Perceptions and Health Behaviors in Children

Barbara J. Tinsley, David R. Holtgrave, Cynthia A. Erdley, Steven P. Reise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Child and adolescent risky behavior rank high as causes of negative health outcomes for contemporary youths. The main focus of the present investigation was to examine the congruence (convergent validity) among several methods (e.g., self, peer, teacher) of assessing youths' risk propensity and to explore the relation of these measures to self-reported frequency of risky health behavior in a sample of 436 children in elementary and junior high school. Findings indicated low degrees of congruence between the rater sources in their assessments of target subject riskiness. There was a tendency, however, for peers and teachers to agree with each other more than either agreed with self-reports. In addition, several interesting developmental patterns in children's risk perceptions were revealed. Specifically, the efficacy of the various measures' ability to predict risk-taking criterion measures varied depending on whether a risky or preventive behavior was being assessed and on the grade level of the target subject. Theoretical and applied implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalEducational and Psychological Measurement
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Applied Mathematics


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