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Abstract

Youth drowning remains a primary cause of injury and death in the United States, particularly within demographic disparities involving: (a) sex, (b) ethnicity, (c) socioeconomic status, and (d) geographic location. Research has examined knowledge acquisition for injury prevention, but little has been done to understand impact on future behavior. This study examined a learn-to-swim and water safety education program using the Reasoned Action Approach to predict future behavior in/around the water. Youth participants ages 5 to 11 at summer camp programs completed a 55-question survey designed to test 7 competencies through the lens of attitudes, intentions, perceived norms, and self-efficacy. Results indicated that several safety messages are not predicted to produce the desired behavior. These include actions related to concepts such as “rescue” and “calling for help”. Information derived from this study calls for researchers and practitioners to examine water safety programs for efficacy as an injury prevention tool.

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