Adolescent injuries in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Uruguay: Results from the 2012–2013 Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS)

Published:October 06, 2016DOI:



      The goals of this study were to identify the proportion of early adolescents in southern South America who were injured in the past year, to identify risk behaviours and other exposures associated with injuries, and to evaluate the most common types and causes of injury in this population.


      We used complex samples analysis to examine cross-sectional data from more than 35,000 students from all four countries in South America that participated in the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) in 2012–2013.


      The proportion of students reporting at least one injury in the past year that required medical treatment or caused at least one full day of missed school or usual activities was 27.1% in Argentina, 29.5% in Uruguay, 30.9% in Chile, and 36.8% in Bolivia. Significantly more boys than girls reported injuries. Injured students were more likely than non-injured students to report anxiety-induced insomnia, being physically attacked, being in a physical fight, and being lonely in the past year, and they were also more likely to report being bullied, using tobacco, drinking alcohol, and missing school in the past month. For both boys and girls, the most common type of injury reported was a broken bone or dislocated joint and the most common injury cause was the student falling. However, most students were not able to provide a specific answer to either question.


      The GSHS has been conducted in 100 low- and middle-income countries and territories around the world, and new waves of data collection are currently being planned and implemented. The utility of the injury data from the GSHS would be improved if the injury type and cause response items were updated to better capture information about self-harm, sports injuries, and other statistics that will provide a stronger foundation for evidence-based injury prevention interventions in adolescent populations.


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