Behavior change counseling in the emergency department to reduce injury risk: A randomized, controlled trial

TitleBehavior change counseling in the emergency department to reduce injury risk: A randomized, controlled trial
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsJohnston, BD, Rivara, FP, Droesch, RM, Dunn, C, Copass, MK
Date PublishedAug
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number1098-4275 (Electronic)0031-4005 (Linking)
Accession Number12165577
Keywords*Counseling, *Emergency Service, Hospital, *Health Behavior, *Risk-Taking, Accident Prevention, Adolescent, Female, Humans, Male, Risk Assessment, Wounds and Injuries/prevention & control/*therapy

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a brief session of behavior change counseling (BCC), offered to injured adolescents in the emergency department (ED) as a therapeutic intervention, could be used to change injury-related risk behaviors and the risk of reinjury. STUDY DESIGN: A randomized, controlled trial. PARTICIPANTS: Adolescents between 12 and 20 years old who were undergoing treatment for an injury in the ED and who were cognitively able to participate in the intervention. SETTING: An urban ED at a level 1 pediatric trauma center. INTERVENTION: Study participants completed a baseline risk behavior prevalence assessment. Participants were then randomly assigned to receive BCC or routine ED care. Those in the treatment group underwent a brief session of BCC with a study social worker focused on changing an identified injury-related risk behavior (seatbelt use, bicycle helmet use, driving after drinking, riding with an impaired driver, binge drinking, or carrying a weapon). Participants were recontacted 3 months and 6 months after enrollment to assess the prevalence of positive behavior change and the interim occurrence of medically treated injuries. RESULTS: We enrolled 631 participants (78% of those eligible) and obtained follow-up for 76% at 3 months and 75% at 6 months. The relative risk of a positive behavior change with respect to seatbelt use was 1.34 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.00, 1.79) at 3 months, favoring the intervention group. The relative risk for the same outcome was 1.47 (95% CI: 1.09, 1.96) at 6 months. A positive change in bicycle helmet use was 1.81 (95% CI: 1.02, 3.18) times more likely at 3 months and 2.00 (95% CI: 1.00, 4.00) times more likely at 6 months in the intervention group. There was no effect of the intervention on changes in other target behaviors. Over the 6-month follow-up period, the risk of reinjury requiring medical attention did not differ between treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: Brief BCC can be delivered to adolescents undergoing treatment for injury in the ED and can be used to address injury-related risk behaviors. The intervention was associated with a greater likelihood of positive behavior change in seatbelt and bicycle helmet use. This effect lasted over 6 months of follow-up. BCC was not associated with changes in other risk behaviors and could not be shown to significantly reduce the risk of reinjury.

Go to top