Injuries to women in the United States: an overview

Women Health. 1995;23(1):9-27. doi: 10.1300/J013v23n01_02.


This review summarizes the descriptive epidemiology of injuries among women in the United States, highlighting major problems as well as needs and opportunities for intervention and research. Injury mortality rates for 1984-88 were calculated from the National Center for Health Statistics mortality data tapes. Additional injury mortality and all injury morbidity information were derived from existing literature. Studies providing gender-specific U.S. injury information during the last ten years were reviewed. Injuries are the leading causes of death for females to age 34 and are responsible for more years of potential life lost than any other cause of death. The lifetime cost of injuries to females is approximately 50 billion dollars annually. Motor vehicle related injuries, falls, and violence are the most significant injury problems for women. Although morbidity is far greater than mortality, access to information about nonfatal injuries is extremely limited. What evidence does exist points to the importance of domestic assault as a major, underrecognized source of preventable injury. Though the greater magnitude of injury among men frequently eclipses the significance of injury as a problem for women, this paper presents evidence that injury is a problem which should feature prominently in the women's health agenda for the nation. There are pressing research needs to understand the changing trends in injuries to females and to identify appropriate intervention strategies. In addition, the study points to the needs for improvement in data systems to document injury morbidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality