This study examined the predictors of childhood injury in biological families compared with stepfamilies using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). An elevated risk of both any injury and multiple injuries was found for children in stepfamilies. Logistic regressions were used to assess the net effects of contextual, caregiver-based and child variables associated with both any injury and multiple injuries. These analyses identified three predictors (male gender, moving homes more frequently and mothers’ problematic alcohol use) of any injury and multiple injuries; the addition of ‘family type’ did not enhance the model in either regression. Stepfamily structure per se is not a risk factor for injury. Instead, the elevated rates of injury in stepfamilies are accounted for by their experiencing more of the risk factors found to predict child injury in all families. This study contributes to theory, practice and policy regarding child injury, both accidental and abusive, by identifying risk factors for injury.
- family structure
- risk factors