Parental attitudes regarding child safety and risk engagement play important roles in child injury prevention and health promotion efforts. Few studies have compared mothers’ and fathers’ attitudes on these topics. This study used the risk engagement and protection survey (REPS) previously validated with fathers to compare with data collected from mothers.
Multi-group confirmatory factor analysis was used with a sample of 234 mothers and 282 fathers. Eligible parents had a child 6–12 years attending a paediatric hospital for an injury-related or other reason. We tested the factor structure of the survey by examining configural, metric and scalar invariance. Following this, mothers’ and fathers’ mean scores on the two identified factors of child injury protection and risk engagement were compared.
Comparing mothers’ and fathers’ data showed the two-factor structure of the REPS held for the mothers’ data. Comparing mean scores for the two factors suggested that fathers and mothers held equivalent attitudes. For the combined sample, parent injury protection attitude scores were significantly higher for daughters versus sons. In addition, attitude scores were significantly lower for injury protection and higher for risk engagement among parents born in Canada compared with those who were not.
The REPS allows for valid assessment of injury protection and risk engagement factors for fathers and mothers. Mothers conceptualised the two factors as distinct concepts, similar to fathers. The REPS can be used to inform parenting programme development, implementation and evaluation.