Injury Among Young Canadians: A national study of contextual determinants

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A new youth injury report – Injury Among Young Canadians: A national study of contextual determinants – was launched at the Canadian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference, November 7, 2013. Prepared by researchers at Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada and members of the CIHR Team in Child and Youth Injury Prevention ( and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, this report is based on results from the Health Behaviour of School-Aged Children Survey (HBSC). The report raises awareness of adolescent injury issues and supports evidence-based and necessary actions to prevent injuries in this population.

Download the Report

Injury Among Young Canadians: A national study of contextual determinants (English)

The report is also available in French as Blessures chez les Jeunes Canadiens: une étude nationale sur les déterminants contextuels.

Select key findings

  • Contextual factors in a young person’s home, school, neighbourhood and peer contexts are important to consider when examining injury risk.
  • There are specific vulnerable groups for injury, including young people who reside in group homes or foster care, students who are bullied and students living in rural settings.
  • Students attending schools in low SES neighbourhoods (with high proportions of families with low income, less education and single parents) had a greater number of severe injuries. However, severe injuries were also frequent among grade 9/10 boys in neighbourhoods with high average household income.
  • Negative social characteristics of neighbourhoods, including a lack of trust, fear of being taken advantage of by neighbours, feeling there are no good places to spend free time and neighbourhoods that are not safe to play in, were associated with a greater likelihood of severe injury.
  • Peers have a significant influence on a young person’s injury risk. Young people who do not engage in health risk behaviours such as alcohol use or smoking were still at increased risk for injury if their peers engaged in these activities.

About the report

Many of the contextual determinants are linked to individual behavioural choices and the environments in which injuries occur. In addition to focusing on the individual, an ecological approach was taken to look at how injury relates to the environments or “contexts” where youth spend their time, including 1) home and family, 2) school, 3) with peers and, 4) features in young peoples’ neighbourhoods.

This report uses Canadian-specific data from the 2009-2010 cycle of the Health Behaviour of School-aged Children Study (HBSC) and included a total of 26,078 young Canadians in grades 6-10 from 436 participating schools. Nearly half of these youth reported a medically attended injury in the previous 12-months to the survey. The purpose of this report is to raise awareness of adolescent injury issues and specifically highlight contextual factors that impact injury risk. These findings can be used to support critical evidence-based actions to prevent injuries in this population.

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