Socioeconomic disparities in the prevalence of work-related injuries among adolescents in the United States.
PURPOSE: To explore whether socioeconomic disparities exist in the prevalence of work-related injury among adolescents ages 14-18 in the United States. METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis of previously collected survey data was performed. Data were gathered in a single metropolitan high school and included work-related injury prevalence and two measures of socioeconomic status (SES): mother's education level and working to support one's family. Because of the high prevalence of our outcome, Cox regression was used to calculate prevalence ratios. RESULTS: Evidence of an inverse association between adolescents' SES and prevalence of work-related injuries was found. A statistically significant dose-response relationship remained after controlling for hours worked per week, work history duration and race (Wald-test, 3 df, p = .039). A 30% drop in prevalence of work-related injuries was found between the lowest and highest level of mother's education. In addition, adolescents who worked to support their families had an elevated prevalence of work-related injury (adjusted prevalence ratio = 1.25, 95% confidence interval [1.07, 1.46]). Race stratified results showed the associations between injury and both measures of SES were strongest among whites in this sample. CONCLUSIONS: Results support the hypothesized protective effect of parental SES on the prevalence of work-related injuries among adolescents. More research is needed to test this association in a larger population and to understand the pathways that might explain it. Collection of SES measures in surveillance systems that gather data on work-related injuries is recommended to support new research on this topic.
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