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Adolescent risk factors for poisonings – a prospective cohort study


Juho E Kivistö, M.D., Ph.D., Kivipöytälänkuja 6, 33920 Pirkkala, Finland. Tel: +358 40 530 4445 | Fax: +358 3 215 6057 |


Aim:  This study assessed whether adolescents’ socioeconomic background, health and health behaviours are associated with later risk of poisoning hospitalization.

Methods:  A prospective cohort of 54 169 Finns aged 14–18 years was followed for an average of 10.6 years. The end-point of the study was poisoning hospitalization, death or termination of follow-up in 2001. The relationships of socioeconomic background, health and health behaviour characteristics with poisoning hospitalization were studied with adjusted Cox’s proportional hazard model.

Results:  We identified 443 persons (0.8%) with a diagnosed poisoning leading to hospital admission. The mean age at the time of the poisoning hospitalization was 22.7 years. The strongest risk factors for poisoning hospitalization in males were more than three stress symptoms weekly (HR 1.9), poor school success (HR 1.9) and not living with both of the parents in adolescence (HR 1.8). In females, the strongest risk factors were more than three stress symptoms weekly (HR 2.1), poor school success (HR 2.2) and recurring drunkenness as drinking style (HR 1.7).

Conclusion:  Poor school performance, health and health-compromising behaviour adopted in adolescence are associated with a poisoning hospitalization risk in adulthood. Daily smoking and recurring drunkenness were strongly associated with a later poisoning hospitalization.

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