The Social Determinants of Trauma: A Trauma Disparities Scoping Review and Framework

J Trauma Nurs. Sep/Oct 2018;25(5):266-281. doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000388.


The drivers of trauma disparities are multiple and complex; yet, understanding the causes will direct needed interventions. The aims of this article are to (1) explore how the injured patient, his or her social environment, and the health care system interact to contribute to trauma disparities and examine the evidence in support of interventions and (2) develop a conceptual framework that captures the socioecological context of trauma disparities. Using a scoping review methodology, articles were identified through PubMed and CINAHL between 2000 and 2015. Data were extracted on the patient population, social determinants of health, and interventions targeting trauma disparities and violence. Based on the scoping review of 663 relevant articles, we inductively developed a conceptual model, The Social Determinants of Trauma: A Trauma Disparities Framework, based on the categorization of articles by: institutional power (n = 9), social context-place (n = 117), discrimination experiences (n = 59), behaviors and comorbidities (n = 57), disparities research (n = 18), and trauma outcomes (n = 85). Intervention groupings included social services investment (n = 54), patient factors (n = 88), hospital factors (n = 27), workforce factors (n = 31), and performance improvement (n = 118). This scoping review produced a needed taxonomy scheme of the drivers of trauma disparities and known interventions that in turn informed the development of The Social Determinants of Trauma: A Trauma Disparities Framework. This study adds to the trauma disparities literature by establishing social context as a key contributor to disparities in trauma outcomes and provides a road map for future trauma disparities research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Determinants of Health / economics*
  • Social Determinants of Health / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survivors
  • United States
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*