Children's Perceptions of Injuries: A Qualitative Study in Sweden
Richard Allan Dale, Marie Hasselberg, Annika Jakobsson, and Gunnel Hensing
To understand one of the major public health problems for children, it is important to consider the children's perspective. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore, describe, and categorize children's perceptions of injury severity and children's explanations of the injuries they experience. A total of 29 students from six randomly selected schools were interviewed in age groups of 9, 13, and 17 years. Manifest content analysis according to Graneheim and Lundman (2004) was used to categorize children's own statements. Need of medical attention, long-term consequences, and familiarity with the injury risk situation were identified as important determinants of children's perception of injury severity. Three categories emerged from children's explanations of their injuries: "Because of Me" (beliefs, lack of concentration, health conditions, and lack of awareness of risk), "Because of the Situation" (rain, ice, wind, animals, inanimate objects, constructions, and the children's games), and "Just Inexplicable" to the children. Findings suggest that children have a wide perception of injury severity and that children's beliefs of injury causation, as well as children's familiarity with injury risk situations, need to be considered in future studies focusing on the development of childhood injury prevention strategies. Additionally, results suggest that sometimes children cannot or do not want to explain their injuries.