4727.0.55.002 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2012-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/11/2013  First Issue
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Contents >> Health Conditions >> Recent injuries



This topic determines whether the respondent had any injuries in the last 4 weeks.


Information was collected for all persons in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS).


Respondents were asked whether they had any accidents, hurt themselves or been hurt by someone or something in the last 4 weeks. If the respondent answered 'no' or 'don't know' then no further questions were asked.

Respondents who reported they had an injury were asked how did they get hurt:

  • Car accident
  • Tripping/slipping/low fall (less than 1 metre)
  • Falling from (tree/roof/wall)/high fall (more than 1 metre)
  • Hitting something or being hit by something
  • Attacked by another person/fighting
  • Nearly drowned
  • Burns by fire/heat
  • Burns by chemicals
  • Bite or sting
  • Cut with knife/tool/other implement
  • Injured while playing sport
  • Other (specify)
  • Food poisoning

More than one response was allowed.

Respondents were then asked if they had done one of the following when they got hurt in the last 4 weeks:
  • Go to the community clinic or hospital
  • Do anything for the injury, like bandage it or stay in bed
  • Do anything else

If respondent had done none of these, or only food poisoning had been recorded, then no further questions were asked. Otherwise, if the respondent had multiple events where they sustained an injury then they were asked which of the events had happened most recently. Further questions were only asked about this most recent accident.

Respondents were asked what type of injury they received as a result of the most recent accident:
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations, sprains, strains, torn muscles/ligaments
  • Internal injury
  • Open wounds/cuts
  • Bruising
  • Burns and scalds
  • Concussion
  • Choking
  • Poisoning
  • Other

More than one response was allowed. If not injury was sustained then no further questions were asked.

For each type of injury, the respondent was asked which part or parts of the body were affected:
  • Eyes
  • Head (excl. eyes)
  • Neck (excl. spine)
  • Shoulder (incl. collar bone)
  • Arms (incl. wrists)
  • Hands/fingers
  • Back/spine
  • Trunk (incl. chest, internal organs, groin and buttocks (bottom))
  • Hip
  • Legs/feet
  • Whole body

More than one response was allowed.

If respondent was aged 15 years or over, they were asked whether they were hurt while working for pay, working but not for pay, or neither. If the respondent got hurt while working for pay they were asked whether it was the same job the respondent stated earlier in the interview during the employment questions.

Respondents were then asked what they were doing when they were injured from the following:
  • Sports activities
  • Leisure activities
  • Resting, sleeping, eating or other personal activities
  • Being nursed or cared for
  • Attending school/college/university
  • Domestic activities
  • Driving/passenger in a car
  • Other

Followed by where they were when they were injured from the list below:
  • Inside own/someone else's home
  • Outside own/someone else's home
  • At school/college/university
  • Residential institution (Men's quarters or nursing home)
  • Health care facility
  • Sports facility/athletics field/park
  • Street/highway
  • Commercial place (Shop, office or hotel)
  • Industrial place (Factory/CDEP depot)
  • Farm
  • Other (River, bush etc.)

Respondents were asked whether they went to hospital because of the most recent accident. If yes, the respondents were asked whether they stayed overnight in hospital.

Respondents were then asked, apart from anyone who they saw in the hospital for these injuries, whether they saw a doctor/GP or a nurse/sister/other health worker. If aged under 15 years then no further questions were asked.

If respondent was aged 15 years or over, they were asked whether they had been drinking or using other drugs when they sustained their injury.

Data items

The data items and related output categories for this topic are available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered in interpreting data from this topic include the following:
  • 'Food poisoning' is collected after 'Other (specify)' as it is not considered an injury for output purposes. It is only collected to ensure respondents do not include their food poisoning experience when responding to the injuries from the prompted list and to allow for exclusion of these responses in output items.
  • As the data in this topic can relate to persons, events, injury events and injuries, care should be taken to ensure that the data used are appropriate to the purpose for which they are intended; in particular to ensure that data relate to events, injury events or injuries as required, and that the units used (e.g. events or persons) are appropriate.
  • An injury event is an event (as defined above but excluding food poisoning) which resulted in an injury.
  • An injury is the damage sustained in an injury event; a single event may result in multiple injuries, and each type of injury may involve multiple bodily locations.
  • An event is an occurrence of any of the following in the previous 4 weeks:
    • Attack by another person, Hit by something, Bites or stings, Bruising, Burns or scalds, Choking, Cuts, Dislocations, sprains, strains, Electric shocks, Falling over, Fractures, Hitting something, Inhaling fumes, Internal injuries, Loud sounds, Near drowning, Swallowing poisons, Vehicle accidents, Other injuries;
  • and which resulted in one or more of the following actions:
    • Consulting a health professional, seeking and/or receiving medical advice or treatment, reducing usual activities, or treating the injury themselves (e.g. using a bandage, applying an ice-pack, taking medication, bed rest).
  • The data was self-reported, and reflect the respondent's view of causality.
  • Similarly, although all events in the previous 4 weeks resulting in injury were within scope of the topic, events resulting in minor injuries, and particularly those occurring earlier in the reference period, were less likely to be reported than other events. The degree to which events resulting in minor injuries were reported could also be expected to differ between population groups.
  • While the survey identified those injury events which in the respondent's opinion occurred while they were working, the data are not necessarily indicative of injuries which would be considered work related under workers’ compensation provisions.
  • The potentially sensitive and personal nature of the last question on alcohol and drug use may have impacted on respondents willingness to respond, and on the nature of the responses. This may have resulted in under-reporting for these data.

Comparability with 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data for common items are considered comparable between the 2004-05 NATSIHS and 2012-13 NATSIHS. However, it should be noted that in 2004-05 a prompt for 'Injured while playing sport' was not given for the question that asked how the respondent got injured. Furthermore, 'Driving/passenger in car' was not prompted for when respondents were asked what they were doing when they were injured. As a result, this event and type of activity may have been under reported in 2004-05 and would have been included in the 'Other' category for output items for these data. In 2012-13, these categories have been output as stand alone categories from 'Other' for their respectively output items.

Comparability with 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)

Recent injury data are not collected in the 2008 NATSISS, however, injuries from being a victim of an assault are recorded although are not considered comparable to the 2012-13 NATSIHS data.

Comparability with 2011-12 National Health Survey (NHS)

Recent injury data are not collected in the 2011-12 NHS, however, injuries that had caused recorded conditions were reported, although these are unlikely to have been recent injuries and as such are not considered comparable to the 2012-13 NATSIHS data.

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