Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Injury
Title Nonfatal injury incidence and risk factors among middle school students from four Polynesian countries: The Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tonga
Volume 47
Issue 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 1135-1142
The burden of injuries in Pacific Island countries is understudied despite the known challenges associated with many residents having limited access to advanced medical and surgical care when they sustain a serious injury. This paper examines nonfatal injuries among early adolescent schoolchildren (those primarily ages 13-15 years) from four Polynesian countries.

Self-reported data from the 5507 middle school students who were randomly sampled for participation in the nationwide Global School-based Student Health Surveys (GSHS) in the Cook Islands (in the year 2009), Niue (2010), Samoa (2011), and Tonga (2010) were analysed with various statistical methods including regression models. Injuries were defined by the GSHS questionnaire as serious if they resulted in a full day of missed school or other usual activities or required medical treatment.

The proportion of students reporting a serious injury in the past year was 43.1% in the Cook Islands, 40.8% in Niue, 73.8% in Samoa, and 49.1% in Tonga. In the Cook Islands and Samoa, boys reported more injuries than girls (p<0.01). The most common types of serious injuries reported were cuts and other skin trauma; broken bones and dislocated joints; and concussions, other head injuries, or difficulty breathing. The most common causes of serious injuries reported were falls; motor vehicle accidents; and attacks, fights, or abuse. For both boys and girls, being bullied in the past month, being physically attacked or in a physical fight in the past year, using alcohol and tobacco, skipping school, and having anxiety or loneliness were associated with a higher likelihood of injuries.

School-based health education programs targeting prevention of intentional and unintentional injuries may benefit from emphasising Polynesian values and promoting personal mental and physical health, healthy behaviours, and healthy family and community relationships.

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