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Cintas Holly M. PT PhD PCS
Pediatric Physical Therapy: Winter 1992

Risk-taking behaviors generating an element of physical danger typically accompany the average infant's developmental ascent to the erect position and bipedal ambulation. Exploration based on physical risk-taking may be critical to increasing a child's radius of experience and knowledge of the physical world. Temperament and maternal attachment are thought to influence exploratory behavior, but motor competence and its relationship to exploration and risk-taking have not been examined in young children. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between motor skill level and risk-taking behaviors associated with exploration in toddlers. Motor skill level was assessed in 25 Caucasian children, ages 12–24 months, by means of the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales. Exploratory behavior and intensity of risk-taking behaviors were recorded by means of time-sampling methods. Temperament and security of attachment were evaluated using standardized parent report instruments. A significant relationship was identified between risk-taking behavior and motor skill, suggesting that systematic incorporation of risk-taking behaviors in physical therapy programing may have a positive impact on motor skill level.

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