Adolescent development and risk of injury: Using developmental science to improve interventions

Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Injury Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.89). 09/2010; 17(1):50-4. DOI: 10.1136/ip.2010.028126
Source: PubMed


In adolescence, there is a complex interaction among physical, cognitive, and psychosocial developmental processes, culminating in greater risk-taking and novelty-seeking. Concurrently, adolescents face an increasingly demanding environment, which results in heightened vulnerability to injury. In this paper, we provide an overview of developmental considerations for adolescent injury interventions based on developmental science, including findings from behavioural neuroscience and psychology. We examine the role that typical developmental processes play in the way adolescents perceive and respond to risk and how this integrated body of developmental research adds to our understanding of how to do injury prevention with adolescents. We then highlight strategies to improve the translation of developmental research into adolescent injury prevention practice, calling on examples of existing interventions including graduated driver licensing.

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Available from: Sara Burr Johnson, Jul 29, 2015
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    • "Although the effects of peer influence and parental monitoring have been examined previously, investigators have not yet fully examined the impact of youth assets at multiple levels of the social ecology simultaneously—that is, at the individual, relationship, and community levels. The social-ecological model of injury risk highlights the role of multiple levels of social organization in shaping development and risk of injury; all levels predict risk behavior and injury outcomes (Johnson & Jones, 2011). Further, research has mostly been risk-focused and crosssectional , conducted with small non-representative samples. "
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    ABSTRACT: Drinking and driving among adolescents and young adults remains a significant public health burden. Etiological research is needed to inform the development and selection of preventive interventions that might reduce alcohol-involved crashes and their tragic consequences. Youth assets—that is, skills, competencies, relationships, and opportunities—can help youth overcome challenges, successfully transition into adulthood, and reduce problem behavior. We examined the predictive influence of individual, relationship, and community assets on drinking and driving (DD) and riding with a drinking driver (RDD). We assessed prospective relationships through analysis of data from the Youth Assets Study, a community-based longitudinal study of socio-demographically diverse youth. Results from calculation of marginal models using a Generalized Estimating Equation approach revealed that parent and peer relationship and school connectedness assets reduced the likelihood of both drinking and driving and riding with a drinking driver approximately 1 year later. The most important and consistent asset that influenced DD and RDD over time was parental monitoring, highlighting the role of parental influence extending beyond the immediate teen driving context into young adulthood. Parenting-focused interventions could influence factors that place youth at risk for injury from DD to RDD, complementing other evidence-based strategies such as school-based instructional programs and zero tolerance Blood Alcohol Concentration laws for young and inexperienced drivers.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · The Journal of Primary Prevention
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    • "A related characteristic that is also greater in adolescents is impulsivity, the tendency to act without adequate consideration of the consequences [40]. Both tendencies are stronger in males [41] and have been the focus of commentaries on the role of brain development in adolescent risky driving [11] [12] However, unlike sensation seeking, impulsivity is characterized by a deficit in attention skills [41], an extreme form of which is apparent in ADHD, which presents with both impulsive and attentional problems [42]. When the effects of sensation seeking are separated from impulsivity, impulsivity appears to be the more serious predictor of risky behavior [43] [44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading source of morbidity and mortality in adolescents in the United States and the developed world. Inadequate allocation of attention to the driving task and to driving hazards are important sources of adolescent crashes. We review major explanations for these attention failures with particular focus on the roles that brain immaturity and lack of driving experience play in causing attention problems. The review suggests that the potential for overcoming inexperience and immaturity with training to improve attention to both the driving task and hazards is substantial. Nevertheless, there are large individual differences in both attentional abilities and risky driving tendencies that pose challenges to novice driver policies. Research that can provide evidence-based direction for such policies is urgently needed.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
    • "A search of Scopus in May 2013 for example revealed over 1,000 young (or 'teen') driver peer-reviewed papers published from 1977 to 2013. Recent literature in particular suggests that the increased risks experienced by all young drivers are primarily related to both their driving inexperience and their continuing psychosocial and physiological development (Johnson & Jones, 2011; McCartt et al, 2009a). This includes unintended risks such as not adequately scanning the road environment (e.g., Underwood et al., 2003) and being susceptible to distraction (e.g., Johnson & Jones, 2011) as well as intentional risk taking such as driving in excess of speed limits (e.g., Wundersitz, 2012) and not wearing seatbelts (e.g., Elliott, Ginsburg, & Winston, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Young drivers continue to be overrepresented in road crash fatalities, despite a multitude of research, communications and interventions implemented in recent years. The effectiveness of these efforts, however, depends largely on the quality of research methodologies employed. Participant characteristics, such as their age and experience, how and where they are recruited, and final sample size and representativeness have significant implications for the generalisability of findings. The aim of the current research is to critique methodologies applied in recent young driver literature and propose broader implications for ongoing research and practice. Articles on 'young driver' and 'teen driver' research published in Traffic Injury Prevention between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2012 were identified as part of a larger study assessing leading road safety journals. Methodology details (participants, study design), were tabulated, and the broader implications for young driver communications and interventions were considered. Thirty relevant studies were identified, of which 80% originated from high-income countries. Both genders were generally included with 'young driver' ages ranging from 15-35 years and one-third of papers also sampling according to level of driving experience but with 'novice driver' ages ranging to 65 years. Almost three-quarters relied on methods other than crash databases, the majority (60%) of which were self-report surveys, (only two of these were based on nationally-representative surveys), and just less than 25% were sourced from school and university students. Overall these factors limited the comparability and generalisability of the findings. To optimise young and novice driver road safety, improved study designs applied with more representative and more narrowly comparable samples are needed. In addition, improved completeness of both the extent and the implications of the reported information (such as response rates, the use of incentives), and the generalisability of the findings are required. These improvements in young driver research and reporting are vital to accurately inform and guide young driver communication and intervention development and implementation.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Oct 2013
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