A systematic review of the evidence for effectiveness of interventions to address transport and other unintentional injuries among adolescents
Journal of Safety Research
Introduction: Globally, injuries are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity for adolescents, which disproportionately affect the disadvantaged. To build an investment case for adolescent injury prevention, evidence is needed as to effective interventions. Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed original research published between 2010–2022 was conducted. CINAHL, Cochrane Central, Embase, Medline and PsycINFO databases were searched for studies reporting the effectiveness of unintentional injury prevention interventions for adolescents (10–24 years), with assessment of study quality and equity (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status). Results: Sixty-two studies were included; 59 (95.2%) from high-income countries (HIC). Thirty-eight studies (61.3%) reported no aspect of equity. Thirty-six studies (58.1%) reported prevention of sports injuries (commonly neuromuscular training often focused on soccer-related injuries, rule changes and protective equipment). Twenty-one studies (33.9%) reported prevention of road traffic injury, with legislative approaches, commonly graduated driver licensing schemes, found to be effective in reducing fatal and nonfatal road traffic injury. Seven studies reported interventions for other unintentional injuries (e.g., falls). Discussion: Interventions were strongly biased towards HIC, which does not reflect the global distribution of adolescent injury burden. Low consideration of equity in included studies indicates current evidence largely excludes adolescent populations at increased risk of injury. A large proportion of studies evaluated interventions to prevent sports injury, a prevalent yet low severity injury mechanism. Findings highlight the importance of education and enforcement alongside legislative approaches for preventing adolescent transport injuries. Despite drowning being a leading cause of injury-related harm among adolescents, no interventions were identified. Conclusion: This review provides evidence to support investment in effective adolescent injury prevention interventions. Further evidence of effectiveness is needed, especially for low- and middle-income countries, populations at increased risk of injury who would benefit from greater consideration of equity and for high lethality injury mechanisms like drowning.
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National Health and Medical Research Council