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Accid Anal Prev. 2004 Jan;36(1):93-101.

Injury and risk-taking behavior-a systematic review.

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Injury Prevention Unit, School of Population Health, Mayne Medical School, University of Queensland, Herston Road, Herston, 4006, Qld, Brisbane, Australia.


There is a substantial body of work in the scientific literature discussing the role of risk-taking behavior in the causation of injury. Despite the quantity of diverse writings on the subject most is in the form of theoretical commentaries. This review was conducted to critically assess the empirical evidence supporting the association between injury and risk-taking behavior. The review found six case-control studies and one retrospective cohort study, which met all the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis was not possible due to the diversity of the independent and outcome variables in each of the studies reviewed. Overall the review found that risk-taking behavior, however it is measured, is associated with an increased chance of sustaining an injury except in the case of high skilled, risk-taking sports where the effect may be in the other direction. Drawing specific conclusions from the research presented in this review is difficult without an agreed conceptual framework for examining risk-taking behavior and injury. Considerable work needs to be done to provide a convincing evidence base on which to build public health interventions around risk behavior. However, sufficient evidence exists to suggest that effort in this area may be beneficial for the health of the community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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