What makes community based injury prevention work? In search of evidence of effectiveness
- Correspondence to: Per Nilsen Department of Health and Society, Division of Social Medicine and Public Health Science, Linköping University, SE-58183 Linköping, Sweden;
Community based injury prevention work has become a widely accepted strategy among safety promotion specialists. Hundreds of community based injury prevention programs have been implemented since the mid-1970s, but relatively few have been evaluated rigorously, resulting in a lack of consensus regarding the effectiveness of this approach. This study sought to identify key components that contribute to the effectiveness of these programs. The objective was to gain a better understanding of the community based model for injury prevention. The study was performed as a structured review of existing evaluations of injury prevention programs that employed multiple strategies to target different age groups, environments, and situations.
The results of this study suggested that there are complex relationships between the outcome and the context, structure, and process of community-wide injury prevention programs. The interconnectedness of these variables made it difficult to provide solid evidence to prioritise in terms of program effectiveness. The evaluations of multifaceted community oriented injury prevention programs were found to have many shortcomings. Meagre descriptions of community characteristics and conditions, insufficient assessment of structural program components, and failure to establish process-outcome relationships contributed to the difficulty of identifying key success factors of the programs.