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Parents’ Knowledge and Attitudes Toward The Choking Game Jessica M. Joseph, Kathi M. Fine, & W. Hobart Davies University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee BACKGROUNDRESULTS.

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Presentation on theme: "Parents’ Knowledge and Attitudes Toward The Choking Game Jessica M. Joseph, Kathi M. Fine, & W. Hobart Davies University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee BACKGROUNDRESULTS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Parents’ Knowledge and Attitudes Toward The Choking Game Jessica M. Joseph, Kathi M. Fine, & W. Hobart Davies University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee BACKGROUNDRESULTS CONCLUSIONS CONTACT INFORMATION Corresponding Author: Jessica M. Joseph, B.A. address: Many preadolescents and adolescents have been reported to take part in forced asphyxiation as a means of creating a feeling of being high without taking drugs. This game goes by different names, including The Choking Game, Blackout, and Space Monkey. Youth either restrict blood flow to the brain directly or put pressure on the chest after hyperventilating, either of which will cause the person to lose consciousness. As they regain consciousness, many experience a feeling of giddiness and/or euphoria caused by cerebral hypoxia, which can be highly reinforcing. The limited epidemiological data suggest that about 11% of adolescents report having engaged in this behavior. This typically begins as a group activity, but some youth begin engaging in this behavior alone, which significantly raises the risk of accidental death or disability. The CDC has offered a conservative estimate of 82 deaths between 1995 and 2007, although advocacy groups have estimated that the number actually exceeds 100 each year, with numerous cases misclassified as suicides (www.stop- the-choking-game.com). This study surveyed parents of adolescents regarding their knowledge of this behavior and its associated risks, as well as their attitudes toward possible prevention efforts METHODOLOGY Participants were 415 parents of children between 12 and 17 years of age. Both mothers (61%) and fathers (39%) participated. The majority (86%) were Caucasian. Parents completed an on-line survey developed for this study based on information presented by GASP (Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play), an international advocacy group focused on increasing knowledge of this behavior and the associated risks. Poster presented at the 2009 Midwest Conference on Pediatric Psychology, Kansas City, Missouri Parents of adolescents in the United States appear to be quite knowledgeable about the Choking Game and its potential risks, and are overwhelmingly supportive of preventive measures that may be effective in reducing the incidence of the behavior. Parents may need specific help in how to talk to their children about this behavior and this should be an area for further research. RESULTS (cont) Chart 1 displays parents’ responses to questions about their awareness of The Choking Game. Eighty-one percent of mothers and 63% of fathers reported being familiar with The Choking Game (phi=.20, p<.001). Considerably fewer, 51% of mothers and 26% of fathers reported having talked to their children about this activity (phi=.26, p<.001). Eleven percent of mothers and 18% of fathers reported knowing someone who had participated in The Choking Game (phi=-.09, p = n.s.) Awareness of the specific potential risks associated with the condition ranged from 78% (Physical Disability) to 96% (Death). See Table 1. Eighty-five percent of parents thought that The Choking Game should be included in the DARE program or other drug abuse prevention programs, while 90% thought it should be included in school-based health curricula, almost all thinking this should be done during or before middle school. (See Chart 2) The majority of parents (88%) also thought that videos showing or glorifying The Choking Game should be restricted on the internet. (See Chart 2) Table 1 Parents' Awareness of the Risks of the Choking Game RiskPercent Aware Short-term memory loss91% Loss of brain cells93% Seizures82% Decreased Academic Potential85% Physical Disability78% Mental Disability88% Accidental Death96%


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