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June 1989

Barriers to Bicycle Helmet Use Among ChildrenResults of Focus Groups With Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Graders

Author Affiliations

From the School of Public Health (Drs Howland and Ebert) and the Department of Pediatrics (Drs Sargent and Weitzman), Boston University School of Medicine; the Center for Survey Research, Boston City Hospital, University of Massachusetts, Boston (Dr Mangione); the Greater New Bedford (Mass) Community Health Center (Ms Mauceri); and Childhood Injury Prevention Program, Department of Health and Hospital, Boston, Mass (Ms Bond).

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(6):741-744. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150180123033

• As a preliminary step in the development of a school-based educational intervention to promote bicycle helmet use among children, focus group encounters were conducted with fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at three elementary schools in the Boston, Mass, area. Analysis of transcripts of encounter tape recordings indicated that (1) the prevalence of helmet ownership and use was low, (2) children were concerned that helmet use would invite derision from their peers, and (3) children tended to respect other children who wore helmets. We concluded that focus groups can be useful in conceptualizing health education interventions and suggest that school-based peer-led bicycle helmet programs may be effective in developing normative change toward helmet use among elementary schoolchildren.

(AJDC. 1989;143:741-744)