Indexed on: 02 May '08Published on: 02 May '08Published in: BMC Public Health
Intentional injury presents a threat to the physical and psychological well being of young people, especially in developing countries, which carry the greatest part of the global injury burden. While the importance of this problem is recognized, there are limited population data in low and middle income countries that can guide public health action. The present study investigates the prevalence and distribution of intentional injury among young people in three Pacific Island societies, and examines behavioural and psychosocial factors related to risk of intentional injury.Population surveys were conducted with students aged 11-17 years in Pohnpei State in the Federated States of Micronesia (n = 1495), the Kingdom of Tonga (n = 2808) and Vanuatu (n = 4474). Surveys measured self-reported injury and intentional injury, sources of intentional injury, and the range of behavioural, psychological, educational and social variables that may be related to injury risk.Among boys and girls aged 14-17 years the respective period prevalence of intentional injury was 62% and 56% in Pohnpei, 58% and 41% in Tonga, and 33% and 24% in Vanuatu. The prevalence of intentional injury declined with age in Tonga and Vanuatu, but there was little evidence of an age-trend in Pohnpei. Across the three societies, the major sources of intentional injury among boys were 'other persons' followed by boyfriends/girlfriends and fathers. Mothers, boyfriends/girlfriends and other persons were primary sources of injury among girls. An intentional injury was reported more often by those who had been bullied (OR 1.40-1.66, P < 0.05), by regular smokers in Tonga and Vanuatu (OR 1.52-2.21, P < 0.05), and illicit drug users in Pohnpei and Vanuatu (OR 1.87-1.92, P < 0.05).Intentional injury was reported extensively in these three populations. Interventions directed towards the school environment and which take into account the role of bullying and drug use need to be considered.