Relationship Between Parental Locus of Control and Childhood Injury

Samantha Schilling, Victor Silva Ritter, Ashley Skinner, H. Shonna Yin, Lee M. Sanders, Russell L. Rothman, Alan M. Delamater, Eliana M. Perrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although pediatricians routinely counsel parents about preventing childhood injuries, we know little about parents’ locus of control (LOC) in regards to preventing their children from being injured. We performed an observational analysis of sociodemographic differences in LOC for injury prevention, as measured by four items adapted from the Parental Health Beliefs Scales, in English- and Spanish-speaking parents of infants participating in the treatment arm of an obesity prevention study. First, we examined associations of parental LOC for injury prevention at the time their children were 2 months old with parents’ age, race/ethnicity, income, and education. Next, we analyzed time trends for repeated LOC measures when the children were 2, 6, 9, 12, and 24 months old. Last, we examined the association between injury-related LOC items and children’s injury (yes/no) at each time point. Of 452 parents, those with lower incomes had both lower internal and higher external LOC. Lower educational achievement was associated with higher external LOC. Both internal and external LOC scores decreased over time. Injuries were more common in children whose parents endorsed low internal and high external LOC. Future studies should examine whether primary care-based interventions can increase parents’ sense of control over their children’s safety and whether that, in turn, is associated with lower injury rates. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT01040897.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-565
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Injury prevention
  • Locus of control
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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