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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Critical Care and Emergency Medicine - Public Health and Epidemiology - Surgery

Effect of an Injury Awareness Education Program on Risk-Taking Behaviors and Injuries in Juvenile Justice Offenders: A Retrospective Cohort Study
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Author: Kwok M. Ho et al.

by Kwok M. Ho, Edward Litton, Elizabeth Geelhoed, Monica Gope, Maxine Burrell, Jacqueline Coribel, Angela McDowall, Sudhakar Rao


Risk-taking behavior is a leading cause of injury and death amongst young people.

Methodology and Principal Findings

This was a retrospective cohort study on the effectiveness of a 1-day youth injury awareness education program (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth, P.A.R.T.Y.) program in reducing risk taking behaviors and injuries of juvenille justice offenders in Western Australia. Of the 3659 juvenile justice offenders convicted by the court magistrates between 2006 and 2010, 225 were referred to the P.A.R.T.Y. education program. In a before and after survey of these 225 participants, a significant proportion of them stated that they were more receptive to modifying their risk-taking behavior (21% before vs. 57% after). Using data from the Western Australia Police and Department of Health, the incidence of subsequent offences and injuries of all juvenile justice offenders was assessed. The incidence of subsequent traffic or violence-related offences was significantly lower for those who had attended the program compared to those who did not (3.6% vs. 26.8%; absolute risk reduction [ARR]?=?23.2%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 19.9%–25.8%; number needed to benefit?=?4.3, 95%CI 3.9–5.1; p?=?0.001), as were injuries leading to hospitalization (0% vs. 1.6% including 0.2% fatality; ARR?=?1.6%, 95%CI 1.2%–2.1%) and alcohol or drug-related offences (0% vs. 2.4%; ARR 2.4%, 95%CI 1.9%–2.9%). In the multivariate analysis, only P.A.R.T.Y. education program attendance (odds ratio [OR] 0.10, 95%CI 0.05–0.21) and a higher socioeconomic background (OR 0.97 per decile increment in Index of Relative Socioeconomic Advantage and Disadvantage, 95%CI 0.93–0.99) were associated with a lower risk of subsequent traffic or violence-related offences.


Participation in an injury education program involving real-life trauma scenarios was associated with a reduced subsequent risk of committing violence- or traffic-related offences, injuries, and death for juvenille justice offenders.