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Am J Public Health. 2011 Apr;101(4):663-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.300057.

The unintentional injurer: results from the Boston youth survey.

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  • 1Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.



We sought to provide additional information about the characteristics of adolescents who were most likely to cause unintentional injury to other people.


In 2008, as part of a randomized survey of high-school students in the Boston Public School system, more than 1800 respondents answered questions about unintentionally causing an injury to someone else in the past year.


More than 20% of boys and 13% of girls reported unintentionally injuring another person in the past year. Being male, exercising, participating in organized activities, and having carried a knife were risk factors for unintentionally causing an injury during sports. Using illegal drugs, having friends who are a bad influence, and having carried a knife were risk factors for unintentionally causing an injury not associated with sports.


Unintentionally injuring another person is a fairly common event for high-school students. Characteristics differ between adolescents who unintentionally injure others during sports versus those who unintentionally injure others during nonsports activities. Many of the risk factors for causing unintentional injury unrelated to sports are similar to those for intentionally causing injury.

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