Public attitudes towards the preventability of transport and non-transport related injuries: Can a social marketing campaign make a difference?


Substantial efforts devoted to decreasing the burden of transport-related injuries (TRIs) in Canada, including public awareness campaigns aiming to influence attitudes and behaviors, may lead the public to perceive other types of injuries differently. This study examined the relationship between public perception of the preventability of injuries and the type of injury (TRIs vs. non-transport unintentional injuries (NTUIs)); and assessed whether exposure to a social marketing campaign (Preventable) influenced this association. A cross-sectional study design employed survey data collected by Preventable between 2015 and 2016 from 1501 British Columbians aged 25–54 years. A multiple linear regression model was applied to examine the relationship between the type of injury (TRIs vs. NTUIs) and attitudes towards preventability, controlling for socio-demographic variables. Exposure to the campaign was tested as an effect modifier. On a scale from 1 to 10, respondents perceived TRIs to be 1.08 points more preventable than NTUIs (95% CI: 1.00 to 1.16, p-value < 0.0001). Campaign-exposed participants scored 0.31 points higher on preventability of injuries overall (95% CI: 0.16 to 0.47, p-value < 0.0001); and recorded a smaller difference between the perceived preventability of TRIs and NTUIs, relative to those not exposed to the campaign (B = −0.163, 95% CI: –0.28 to −0.04, p-value = 0.008). While respondents believed that most injuries are preventable, exposure to considerable road traffic interventions in Canada may have influenced public attitudes towards a higher perceived preventability of TRIs. Social marketing may be a useful tool to emphasize the preventability of all injuries to further reduce their burden in Canada.

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Suggested Citation: Karbakhsh M, Beaulieu E, Smith J, Zheng A, Turcotte K, Pike I. Public attitudes towards the preventability of transport and non-transport related injuries: Can a social marketing campaign make a difference?. Prev Med Rep. 2019;13:179–182. Published 2019 Jan 2. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2018.12.010

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