Injury-related behaviour among South African high-school students at six sites

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South African Medical Journal

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University of Cape Town

Objectives. To document and compare prevalence rates of adolescent injury-related risk behaviours at six sites in South Africa. Design. The identical self-administered instrument was used at all sites. Prevalence rates (with 95% confidence intervals) were calculated taking the multistage cluster sampling strategy into account. Setting and subjects. In Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Mankweng participants were drawn from either grades 8 or 9, and grade 11, while in Queenstown and Umtata they were drawn from grade 11 only. We selected 39 schools in Cape Town and Durban, 33 in Port Elizabeth and 20 in each of the rural areas. Outcome measures. Road-related risk behaviour, violence, and suicide attempts. Results. Across the sites there were high rates of risk behaviour in all domains. For example, in the 12 months preceding the survey an estimated 52.8% of grade 11 males in Cape Town had travelled in the front seat of a motor vehicle without a seatbelt, 33.0% of grade 8 males in Mankweng had bullied others, while 44.5% of the same group had been bullied, and 18.6% of females in Port Elizabeth had attempted suicide. Rates were lower in rural areas for behaviour involving motor vehicles, but there were no consistent urban-rural findings for violence-related behaviour. Females were at higher risk of suicidal behaviour and males were at higher risk of other injury-related behaviour. Conclusions. There is a need for effective interventions to reduce the extent of injury-related risk behaviour in adolescents in urban and rural settings.