Risky or adventurous play can loosely be defined as thrilling and exciting forms of play that involve uncertainty and risk of physical injury. It presents age-appropriate risks, whilst providing benefits for motor and social skills, mental health, and quality of family dynamics. Increasing engagement in risky play is a low-cost way to promote activity in children and may contribute to wider childhood obesity prevention. Risky play is often associated with higher levels of physical activity and increasing opportunities for fun, yet healthy movement behaviours yield physical and psychological benefits for children across all levels of deprivation, ethnicity or weight. However, important gaps remain in our understanding of risky play, particularly for British children, including when and how opportunities for risky play present themselves and factors associated with parental tolerance of risk. More evidence is also required around wider environmental determinants of risky play, and at a policy level, to encourage commissioning of child-friendly environments to promote greater risky play.
The overall content and direction of the project will be informed by the interests and skills of the successful candidate, and by relevant recent literature. We envisage a mixed-methods project, employing both qualitative and quantitative methods, will likely be the optimal way to answer research questions in this area (e.g., combing data from existing national surveys with novel data collection).
For more information or informal discussion about this project or similar projects, please contact Dr Kathryn Hesketh (Kathryn.firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Andrea Smith (Andrea.email@example.com).