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The association between disability and unintentional injuries among adolescents in a general education setting: Evidence from a Swedish population-based school survey

Journal article
Authors C. Jernbro
Carl Bonander
L. Beckman
Published in Disability and Health Journal
Volume 13
Issue 1
ISSN 1936-6574
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Language en
Subject categories Public health science


Background: Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among adolescents. Adolescents with disabilities may be particularly vulnerable with an increased risk of unintentional injuries. Objective: To study the association between a set of disabilities and unintentional injury risks among adolescents, accounting for comorbidity, subjective disability severity and sex. Method: Cross-sectional data from a Swedish national school survey including 4,741 students (15 and 17-year olds) conducted in 2016 was analyzed using log-binomial generalized linear models. Results: We found a 33% increased risk of injury the last 12 months and a 53% increased risk of injury leading to hospitalization for adolescents with any disability compared to their peers with no disability. The differences in injury risk were greater for girls than boys. There was a dose-response relationship between disability severity and injury risk. In analyses adjusted for sociodemographic factors and comorbidity, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy were associated with an increased risk of injury the last 12 months, risk ratios [RR] were 1.41 (95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.08–2.97) and 1.79 (95% CI 1.10–1.81) respectively. Autism spectrum disorder was associated with a decreased injury risk the last 12 months (RR = 0.43, CI 0.2–0.92). ADHD, mobility impairment and visual impairment were associated with hospitalization due to injury during lifetime. Conclusions: There was an increased risk of unintentional injuries for adolescents with disabilities compared to their non-disabled peers, specifically for individuals with ADHD, epilepsy, visual impairment and mobility impairment. Injury prevention strategies may include adapting the physical environment and medical treatment. © 2019

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