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January 1996

Relationship Between Behavioral Problems and Unintentional Injuries in US ChildrenFindings of the 1988 National Health Interview Survey

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(1):50-56. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170260054009

Objective:  To investigate (1) the incidence of unintentional injuries among children with and without behavioral problems and (2) the role of ethnicity on the relationship between behavioral problems and risk for unintentional injuries, as unintentional injuries among children represent a major public health concern in the United States.

Design:  Cross-sectional analysis of data on 11 630 children contained in the 1988 National Health Interview Survey.

Main Outcome Measures and Methods:  We studied the annual incidence of unintentional injury and its relationship to child behavioral problems among three ethnic groups (white, African American, and Hispanic) through stratified as well as multivariate analytic models.

Results:  Accident rates were higher in white children (17.9%) than in African-American (9.3%) or Hispanic (9.3%) children. The odds of unintentional injury in children with severe behavioral problems was 1.65 times greater than in children without behavioral problems, after controlling for relevant sociodemographic characteristics. Ethnicity did not alter the relationship between overall behavioral problems and increased injury rates; however, ethnic differences emerged in the subscale analyses of disruptive behaviors.

Conclusions:  Children with behavioral problems represent a significant risk group for unintentional injuries among three ethnic groups in the United States. These findings emphasize the need to implement accident prevention strategies that are specially targeted at children with behavioral disorders.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:50-56)