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Intentional injury in young people in Vietnam: prevalence and social correlates

Author(s): Linh Cu Le | Robert W. Blum

Journal: MEDICC Review
ISSN 1555-7960

Volume: 13;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Adolescent | youth | adolescent behavior | risk factors | violence | domestic violence | suicide | suicide | attempted | suicidal ideation | Vietnam

INTRODUCTION: Violent acts in young people constitute one of the most serious forms of violence in any society. Violence by young people in schools, on the streets, and in their families has been documented in many studies worldwide. Homicide and non-fatal assaults involving young people have been reported as a great global burden of premature death, injury and disability. Adolescents and young people are both the main victims and perpetrators of such violence. In Vietnam, an emerging pattern of health problems in adolescents related to intentional injury and violence is drawing increasingly more attention from government and the public. OBJECTIVE: Describe the situation of intentional injury among Vietnamese youth, including risk and protective factors, in order to suggest policy implications. METHODS: The 2003 Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth was used as a data source, providing a nationally representative sample of 7584 youth aged 14-25 years, resident in 42 of the country's 61 provinces. This sample was drawn from the 45,000 households in the 2002 Vietnam Living Standards Survey, with a multi-staged and stratified design, using the probability-proportional-to-size method to maintain representativity. Data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques. RESULTS: Of the sample of young people, 2.2% reported injury resulting from violent behavior by a family member and 8.0% by non-family members, the latter demonstrating a significantly higher rate among males than females (13.6% vs. 2.4%). Characteristics of youth most likely to hurt others included: male sex, inebriation at some point, victims of intentional injury, group riot participants and carriers of weapons. Youth who had been members of mass social organizations or clubs in the community were half as likely to hurt other people as those who were unaffiliated with such groups. Females were almost four times more likely than males to attempt suicide. Other risk factors for suicide attempts were past inebriation (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.3-5.4), ever having been a victim of intentional injury by a family member (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.1-11.5) or ever having had feelings of hopelessness (OR 6.5, 95% CI 3.3-13.6). CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of violence and self-harm among Vietnamese youth is comparatively less than in Western and other Asian countries. Risk and protective factors appear similar to those found in most populations. In particular, this study indicated a possible protective effect of membership in social groups. National policy for injury prevention should include strategies to reduce violence and self-harm within this population group.
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