OIPRC Webinar - Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre

The Effectiveness of Interventions Addressing the Social
Determinants of Injuries: What do we think we know?
What do we still need to find out?
(Work in progress)
OIPRC Webinar
January 25, 2012
Brian Hyndman, MHSc.
Senior Planner
Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury
Prevention Section, Public Health Ontario
Health inequities
• Differences in population health status are primarily
attributable to population-level disparities in the social
determinants of health, including income, social status,
education, and employment.
• The 2008 report by the Canadian Senate Subcommittee on
Population Health¹ concluded that about 50% of health
outcomes are attributable to social-economic factors
¹ Keon, W. J., and Pepin, L. (2009) A Healthy Productive Canada: A Determinant of Health
Approach Ottawa: The Senate Subcommittee on Population Health
SDOH and Preventable Injuries: Key Questions
1. What are the socio-economic determinants of health that are most likely to
directly or indirectly affect injury/injury rates in Canada?
2. What is known about the mechanisms by which these determinants affect injury
3. What is known about the effectiveness of interventions, including programs,
policies and social marketing campaigns, aimed at preventing injury through
addressing one or more of the underlying social determinants of health?
4. What are the key gaps in the literature linking injuries to the social determinants of
health as well as the literature on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at
preventing injury through addressing these determinants?
* Builds on findings of 2006 SMARTRISK Environmental Scan commissioned by CIHI
Factors Included in Literature Search*
Measures of SES
Life Course
Cross-Cutting Issues
First Nations/Inuit/Metis
Occupational Status
Others (e.g., deprivation
measures, eligibility for
targeted supports)
Older adults/seniors
Geography (urban, rural,
* Based partially on SmartRisk (2006) framework
Databases searched
• Medline
• Pyschinfo
• Embase
• Cochrane
Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria for Journal Articles
• Published from 2000 –
• Focus on studies with Canadian content; studies with content from
other countries included ONLY if part of a systematic review/metaanalysis OR focused on strategies applicable to Canadian context
• Did NOT include intentional injuries/suicides
• Used critical appraisal tool for public health research developed by
Heller et al. (2008) to determine studies for inclusion
Eligible Study Designs
1. Systematic reviews, syntheses and meta-analyses
2. Before/after studies
3. Controlled trials
4. Observational studies: prospective and retrospective cohort studies,
case control and cross-sectional studies
Injuries and SES: what the literature tells us
• Generally, low SES groups have higher rates of injuries, which tend to be of greater
severity and more often fatal
• Strength of inverse relationship between SES and injuries varies according to injury
type and indicator of SES chosen
Exceptions to Inverse Gradient B/W Injury and SES
• No clear relationship during adolescent years (a period of greater risk taking among
young people across all socio-economic strata)
• Higher SES groups at greater risk of sports/recreational injuries
Injury Hospitalizations and SES: Age Standardized Rates by Neighbourhood
Income Quintiles (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2010)
Injury Hospitalizations and SES: Unintentional Falls (CIHI, 2010)
Injury Hospitalizations and SES: Motor Vehicle Traffic Injuries (CIHI, 2010)
Significance of relationship between Injury and SES
“These differences in (injury hospitalization) rates imply that if
every socio-economic group had experienced the same rate as
the most affluent group, the national injury hospitalization rate
could have been 8% lower. In other words, there would have
been about 21,000 fewer injury hospitalizations in Canada.”
Canadian Institute for Health Information (2010, p. 2)
Explanatory Factors for the Relationship between SES and Injury*
Individual Factors
• Differences in knowledge and beliefs about potential sources of injury
• Differences in health behaviours
• Fewer economic resources to buy appropriate safety devices
• Greater exposure to hazards
• Organization of Work and Occupational Exposure
• Psychosocial – (e.g., poverty-related stressors, social isolation)
Family-Related Factors
• Parental knowledge of child development and abilities
• Greater family size/single parenthood (could influence level of supervision)
Community/Social Factors
• Greater exposure to hazardous environments
• Poor access to servicers
• Social environment/culture/norms
* Source: Alberta Centre for Injury Control Research (2006)
Injuries and SES: Implications for Interventions
What the Literature tell us
• Lack of evidence on nature of the mechanisms underlying socio-economic differences in
injury morbidity and mortality
• Vast majority of interventions focus on improving the knowledge and practices of “high
risk” groups (presumably because broader determinants viewed as less amenable to
• Majority of interventions focus on childhood injuries (in the home or traffic
• Limited evidence that interventions targeting more vulnerable populations are more
effective at preventing injuries than population-level approaches; in fact, some studies
show that disadvantaged groups receive a greater proportional benefit from populationlevel approaches (e.g., bicycle helmet legislation)
East York, Ontario Bicycle Helmet Study (Parkin et al., 2003)
% of Children Observed Wearing Helmets before and after Mandatory Helmet Law
Low-Income Areas
Mid-Income Areas
High Income Areas
Injuries and SES: Implications for Interventions
What the Literature DOES NOT tell us
• At the population level, effective injury prevention programs
are comprehensive and multi-faceted (i.e., the “three Es”:
education, engineering and enforcement). Unclear to what
extent these programs are reducing (or potentially
exacerbating?) socio-economic inequities in injury outcomes
• In summary, existing studies provide a poor evidence base on
how best to avoid – or narrow – socioeconomic differences in
injury risk; it’s unclear what approaches to prevention work
best where it’s needed most
• More research on mechanisms by which SES may influence injury risk to
guide development of effective programs and policies
• Need to determine impact of comprehensive, multi-component
approaches to injury prevention, which have been shown to be effective at
the population level, on disadvantaged groups – will help to determine
optimal balance between targeted approaches, population-wide
programs/policies and targeted universalism
• Advocate to reduce social inequalities contributing to injury inequalities

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