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Injuries: population surveys

Population based information on injuries and variation among adults and children, by age and gender, is collected every two years in the Scottish Health Survey (SHeS). The latest information for combined survey years 2013 and 2015 was included in main report  [6.7Mb] published in September 2016. (See also tables to Chapter 10)

Injury information in population surveys is self reported and defined as any accident which resulted in injury or physical harm where advice was sought from a doctor, nurse or other health professional, or which caused time to be taken off work or school. Participants in the 2015 SHeS were asked to recall any accidents they had had in the 12 months prior to the interview which fitted this definition. Accident rates, however, are based only on those accidents about which advice was sought from a doctor or which required a visit to hospital.

Key points:

  • Just over a tenth (11%) of adults aged 16 and over in 2013/2015 had an accident in the previous twelve months, a comparable prevalence to that in 2009/2011 (11%) and 2003 (12%).
  • Prevalence of accidents was similar for men (12%) and women (11%), with higher prevalence for those aged 16-24 (16%) than those aged 25 and over (9-12%).
  • The proportion of children aged 0-15 having had an accident in the previous twelve months was similar in 2003 (16%), 2009/2011 (14%) and 2013/2015 (15%).
  • The proportion of boys (17%) having had an accident in the last twelve months in 2013/2015 was significantly higher than the proportion of girls (12%).
  • For children, prevalence of accidents tended to increase with age, from 9% among those aged 0-1 to 20-22% among those aged 12-15.
  • The main cause of accidents for all respondents (aged 0 and above) was a fall, slip or trip (57% of adults and 53% of children who had had an accident in the last 12 months), followed by sports or recreational accidents (12% of adults and 21% of children).
  • Falls, slips or trips were more frequently cited by women than men (68% compared with 46%), while women were less likely than men to cite sports or recreational activities (6% compared with 18%) and accidents using a tool, implement or equipment (2% compared with 12%).


Please note: If you require the most up-to-date data available, please check the data sources directly as new data may have been published since these data pages were last updated. Although we endeavour to ensure that the data pages are kept up-to-date, there may be a time lag between new data being published and the relevant ScotPHO web pages being updated.


Page last updated: 22 December 2016

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014