The impact of alcohol consumption on risks for injury among rural adolescents is an important and understudied public health issue. Little is known about whether relationships between alcohol consumption and injury vary between rural and urban adolescents.
To examine associations between alcohol and medically attended injuries by urban-rural geographic status using a representative national sample of Canadian adolescents.
The study involved a secondary analysis of a national sample of Canadian adolescents aged 11-15 years (n = 7,031) from the 2001-2002 Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Survey. Respondents were classified into 5 geographic categories of rural-urban status. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the magnitude and homogeneity of associations between drinking patterns and adolescent injuries across these 5 geographic groupings.
Higher rates of alcohol consumption and adolescent injuries were observed in more rural areas. Alcohol consumption was significantly associated with higher risks for injury occurrence with evidence of a dose-related pattern of risk. Associations between alcohol consumption and injury were consistent by urban-rural geographic status.
Misuse of alcohol is an important potential cause of injury. Adolescents whose lifestyle includes alcohol consumption experience higher risks for injury, and this association is observed consistently by urban-rural geographic status. Findings of this study emphasize a need to intervene with high-risk adolescents as a tertiary prevention strategy, irrespective of geographic background.