• social status;
  • violence;
  • suicide attempts;
  • social gradient;
  • relative risk;
  • absolute risk

Objective:  To measure socio-economic differences in intentional injuries among Swedish adolescents.

Method:  A cross-sectional study, based on linkage of records from national registers, considering injuries incurred by all adolescents domiciled in Sweden in 1990–94. Absolute and relative differences between adolescents from four household socio-economic groups (SEGs) were measured, considering separately males and females, two age categories (10–14 and 15–19 years) and injuries caused by interpersonal violence and self-inflicted injuries.

Results:  Absolute differences (in injury incidence) between SEGs were greatest for self-inflicted injuries, among older female adolescents. There were clear social gradients in all instances, but relative differences (relative risks) reached a peak for interpersonal violence among younger adolescents, for both boys and girls.

Conclusion:  There is a clear association among Swedish adolescents between type of intentional injury and gender, with absolute differences remarkably wide for self-inflicted injuries. For a given age category, gender-specific social gradients are quite comparable within diagnosis.