Individual and contextual effects in injury morbidity in Barcelona (Spain)

Josep Ferrando, Maica Rodríguez-Sanz, Carme Borrell, Vicenç Martínez, Antoni Plasència

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine the relationship between socioeconomic level (measured through individual educational level and material deprivation in the areas of residence) and injury morbidity in different age groups and in males as well as in females. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Barcelona (Spain). Methods: The study population included all cases over the age of 19 who, as a result of an injury (motor vehicles injuries, falls, hits and cuts), were admitted to the emergency departments of the six main hospitals of the city during the years 1990-1991. Age- and sex-specific morbidity rates were calculated for each educational level and each cause of injury. The contextual variable included was the proportion of unemployment in each neighbourhood. Multilevel Poisson regression models were fitted. Results: Morbidity rates were higher in males, in young people and for lower educational levels. Results from the multilevel models show that, at contextual level, neighbourhoods with more unemployment present a higher risk of injuries. At individual level, after adjusting for contextual variables, the risk of sustaining injuries was higher among young men and women for all injury causes except falls among women where the risk was higher in the elderly; among both men and women, the risk of sustaining injury was higher in the population with lower educational level (RR = 1.79,95% CI = 1.73-1.86 in men; RR = 2.12, 95% CI = 2.04-2.21 in women). This trend was also observed separately for traffic injuries, falls, hits and cuts. Conclusion: Our results provide information about individual and contextual social inequalities in injury morbidity, the highest risks of injury occur in individuals of lower educational level and who reside in the more privated neighbourhoods. These results underscore the need to implement injury prevention strategies not only at the individual level, but also to tailor them to the socioeconomic position of the population. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Contextual effects
  • Injury morbidity
  • Social inequalities


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