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Abstract

Previous studies based on a variety of behaviour, temperament, and personality measures identified a pattern of over-activity, impulsiveness, emotional instability, and aggressiveness in children who are prone to accidents. The present study is the first to study accident-prone children by means of a comprehensive test for the assessment of the Five Factor model (Hierarchical Personality Inventory for Children (HiPIC) (Mervielde & De Fruyt, 1999). 118 children, aged 6–15 years, who were hospitalized due to an accident-related injury, were contrasted with 184 school-children of the same age. Lower socio-economic status was under-represented in both groups. Children who were exposed to accidents had higher scores on the facets of energy, optimism, and non-shyness (Extraversion domain), and lower scores on the facets of concentration and achievement striving (Conscientiousness domain). There was no indication of higher aggressiveness, impulsiveness, or emotional instability in the group exposed to accidents, and there were no gender-by-accident interactions. Results suggest that there is a relatively benign pattern of personality traits that is related to greater accident hazard in children. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.