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Social differences in traffic injury risks in childhood and youth—a literature review and a research agenda
  1. L Laflamme1,
  2. F Diderichsen2
  1. 1Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Social Medicine, Stockholm and National Institute of Public Health, Injury Prevention Program, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Social Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Lucie Laflamme, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Social Medicine, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
 (lucie.laflamme{at}phs.ki.se)

Abstract

Objectives—The paper reviews the scientific literature concerning social differences in traffic injuries in childhood in order to highlight the current state of knowledge and to draw the main lines of a research agenda.

Method—A conceptual framework is used that identifies the mechanisms through which social context, social position, and various exposures may interact in the determination of health inequalities. It is used as a frame for presenting the evidence accumulated so far concerning social differences in traffic injury in childhood, including pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle passenger injuries.

Results—For most types of traffic injuries, mortality and morbidity are often higher among children from lower social positions and in more deprived socioeconomic areas. Whether the greater occurrence of injuries in deprived areas is a phenomenon attributable to the areas themselves, or merely a reflection of a wider pattern of injuries affecting lower socioeconomic groups, is unclear. There is evidence of an interaction effect between age and gender, and also between socioeconomic status and gender.

Conclusions—The mechanisms leading to social inequalities in traffic injuries in childhood deserve greater scrutiny in future research. Further theoretical developments and empirical investigation will help define intervention needs and enable more effective targeted, long term prevention.

  • social inequalities
  • traffic injuries
  • injury mechanisms
  • risk exposure
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