Behavioral risk factors and unintentional injuries among U.S. immigrant adults

Ann Epidemiol. 2007 Nov;17(11):889-98. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2007.05.008.


Purpose: This study compared 10 risk-taking behaviors generally considered to be risk factors for injuries and unintentional nonfatal injuries between immigrant and U.S.-born adults.

Methods: Data from the 2001 to 2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions were analyzed. The prevalence of unintentional injuries that occurred in the past 12 months was calculated for foreign-born and U.S.-born respondents by major sociodemographic characteristics. The proportion of respondents who were involved in risk-taking behaviors was compared between immigrants and U.S.-born adults using a chi(2) test. Negative binominal Poisson regression models were used to study the association among immigrant status, total number of risk-taking behaviors, and injuries while controlling for the confounding effects of sociodemographic variables.

Results: Of 43,093 adult respondents, 13.3% (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 12.5%-14.1%) of immigrants reported injuries compared with 19.1% (95% CI = 18.7%-19.5%) of U.S.-born respondents. Immigrants had a significantly lower risk of unintentional injuries than U.S.-born adults by most sociodemographic characteristics, but there was no statistically significant association between years of U.S. residence and injuries. Immigrants were less likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to be involved in all 10 risk-taking behaviors (p < 0.05 from chi(2) test). However, when immigrants engaged in more than four risk-taking behaviors, the difference in injury prevalence between the two groups was not statistically significant (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Immigrant and U.S.-born adults involved in high-risk behaviors face similar risks for unintentional injuries. Targeting risk-taking behaviors among immigrants warrants special attention in injury-control programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors*
  • Social Class
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology