Neighborhood risk factors for sports and recreational injuries: a systematic review of studies applying multilevel modeling techniques

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2022-02-21
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Background: Sports and recreational activities are the most commonly reported cause of injury-related emergency department (ED) visits among children and young adults in developed countries, yet studies about the effect of neighborhood environment on sports and recreational injuries (SRI) are very limited. The aim of this study was to systematically review studies that apply multilevel modeling approach in examining the relationships between SRI and neighborhood-level risk factors.

Data sources: A systematic search of peer reviewed English language articles was conducted in four electronic databases including PubMed (1992–2020), CINAHL (2000–2020), Sports Medicine and Education Index (1996–2020), and Web of Science (1991–2020).

Study selection: Selected studies were observational or experimental studies of people of all ages across the world that assessed neighborhood risk factors for SRI (or all injuries including SRI) using multilevel regression analysis.

Data synthesis: Nine studies—five cross-sectional, two prospective cohort, and two incidence studies—were selected out of a potential 1510. Six studies used secondary data and three used primary data. Only three studies examined SRI as the main or one of the main outcomes. These studies showed that neighborhood-level factors, such as higher socioeconomic context, lower street connectivity, and living or attending schools in urban communities, were associated with increased risk of SRI. Most studies did not provide a justification for the use of multilevel regression and the multilevel analytical procedure employed and quantities reported varied. The Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies (National Institutes of Health) was used to assess the quality or risk of bias of each study. Four quality assessment criteria out of 15 were met by all nine studies. The quality assessment ratings of the reviewed studies were not correlated with the quality of information reported for the multilevel models.

Conclusion: Findings from this review provide evidence that neighborhood-level factors, in addition to individual-level factors, should be taken into consideration when developing public health policies for injury prevention. Considering the limited numbers of studies that were identified by this systematic review, more multilevel studies are needed to strengthen this evidence in order to better inform SRI prevention policy decisions.

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Injury Epidemiology. 2022 Feb 21;9(1):6