Healthy settings for young people in Canada – Injury in context
Figure 6.18 indicates that young people who live with both parents are slightly less likely to sustain a serious physical injury.
Figure 6.19 indicates that the quality of parent-child relationships, based on the parent trust and communi- cation scale, does not impact the likelihood of young people reporting a serious injury.
Of all the contexts considered in relation to occurrence of injury, level of academic achievement shows the strongest relationship (Figure 6.20). The rate of reported serious injury among students with high academic averages is less than half that of those with the lowest averages.
Figure 6.21 suggests that, as attitude towards school improves, the proportion of students reporting serious injuries decreases.
Figure 6.22 indicates that the occurrence of serious injury is not related to the level of communication with friends.
A high score on the pro-social attitudes of friends scale is associated with a slightly lower percentage of students reporting serious injury (Figure 6.23).
Figure 6.24 shows that young people from families with greater affluence report higher rates of serious injury. A possible explanation for this finding is that young people from families with more disposable income may have access to more expensive and potentially more dangerous sporting activities and equipment.
There are several important messages from this analysis of physical injuries. First, injuries are a leading health problem among Canadian young people. Large proportions of students, as many as 31 to 48%, report one or more medically-treated injuries in a 12-month period. These injuries are often serious, in that they require substantial medical treatment, and result in significant time lost from school or usual activities, reaching as high as 2452 days missed per 1000 students over one year. The cumulative burden of these injuries on populations of young people and our society is enormous.
Second, this analysis provides information that is helpful in profiling the occurrence of injuries among young people, based on who is most likely to be injured, activities most frequently associated with injury, where injuries are likely to happen, and medical treatments associated with injury occurrence. In turn, this information can be used to develop and tailor injury prevention messages to adults who are responsible for young people’s safety and well-being. By knowing the physical locations of injury events (for younger grades, homes and yards or schools during recess and lunch; for older grades, sports facilities and fields), those in charge of planning injury prevention programs can identify the people and organizations responsible for the environments where most injuries happen. These groups can then be targeted in prevention programs.
Third, social environments in the home, school, and peer group are associated with occurrence of injuries, an important health indicator. Protective social environments are slightly, but consistently associated with lower rates of serious injury. Living with both parents and experiencing a good parent-to-child relationship, as reflected by the parent trust and communication scale, have a minor protective impact on risk of serious injury. School factors, such as good school environment and attitude towards school, but, particularly, higher academic achievement levels, have a more important protective influence on occurrence of serious injury. The two peer factors show small, but surprising opposite results: high communication with friends is associated with higher risk of serious injury, while high pro-social attitudes of friends is related to lower risk of serious injury. Finally, higher family affluence slightly increases the risk of serious injury. These findings point to the importance of improved understanding of social environments as a potential prevention strategy for injury and other health outcomes.
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