Statement of purpose Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are a significant cause of injury among youth aged 15–19. The crude rates of hospitalisation due to MVA were 101 and 153/100,000 persons (U.S. and NZ, respectively, 2000–2012). During the same period, Southland, NZ reported a rate of 167/100,000. Differences in licencing age and overall fleet/road quality may contribute to some variances between countries. But knowledge gaps remain. Youth licensure and vehicle miles travelled (VMT) have declined worldwide, and, although injuries affect well-being, mental health with regard to transport isn’t researched. This presentation will discuss these gaps via preliminary findings from, and the testing of, a pilot study of youth in Southland.
Methods/Approach Preliminary qualitative research informed the writing of an on-line pilot survey to assess transport behaviour and well-being among a sample of NZ teenagers, allowing for assessment of feasibility with regard to content and process prior to dissemination to a larger study population. In-class and home-based delivery methods were evaluated through a pilot study.
Results The pilot study indicates that a larger survey is feasible. Overall response rate was 82%. Response rate was higher in those completing the survey in-class compared to those completing it at home (97% and 55%, respectively). Thirty-one percent had no level of licensure. During the previous month, 55% of those with some level of licensure drove, 84% were car passengers and 78% used active transport (AT). Reasons for low licensure and VMT included economic and geographical barriers, safety concerns, and ambivalence. Happiness levels corresponded with AT, access and proximity to town. These results seem reasonable, demonstrating the pilot survey questions are valid and satisfactory for the main study.
Conclusions In-class survey dissemination is preferable due to increased response. Results of the pilot corresponded with the literature, indicating a larger study will provide a stronger evidence base for current hypotheses. Geography and access appeared to relate to well-being; this is an interesting association not previously observed, and will be further examined in the main study.
Significance and contribution to the field This pilot study assessed questions and methods that addressed all modes of transport through the lens of public health, and uniquely considered measures of associations between transport behaviour and well-being among those with the highest injury risk. The main study in 2015, among youth in both NZ and the U.S., will provide new knowledge in these areas.