A focus on sex differences in drowning deaths in Australia: the need for reporting on sex and gender in drowning research

Roberts, Kym, Thom, Ogilvie, Devine, Sue, Leggat, Peter A., and Franklin, Richard C. (2023) A focus on sex differences in drowning deaths in Australia: the need for reporting on sex and gender in drowning research. Journal of Public Health. (In Press)

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Aim: An evidence gap exists on sex and gender differences in drowning with previous research neglecting females. Drowning studies have largely focused on accidental drowning and submersion, excluding other classifications such as intentional, water transport-related, and undetermined drowning. This study examined all external causes of drowning deaths over a 13-year period in Australia disaggregated by sex. Drowning deaths were compared by sex with drowning classification, year, month, age, place of death, Indigenous status, socioeconomic, and visitor status.

Subject and methods: This retrospective total population study included all females and males who died from drowning in Australia from 2006 to 2019. Data was extracted from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Cause of Death Unit Record Files. Australian population data were extracted to calculate the crude death rate and relative risk for drowning.

Results: There were 4007 drowning deaths recorded, and females represented 25.2% of drowning fatalities. Females were less likely than males to drown, including by drowning classification, year, month, state, remoteness and visitor status, age, socioeconomic, and Indigenous status. The highest proportion of female drowning deaths were from intentional drowning, fall into swimming pools, and in natural water. Drowning deaths among females increased as age increased.

Conclusion: There is a clear need for improved disaggregation of sex and gender in drowning research. Without the detailed exploration of females in drowning statistics there will be limited knowledge translation specific to females. The development of drowning prevention strategies targeted to females is required to reduce the incidence and risk of drowning.

Item ID: 78983
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1613-2238
Keywords: Drowning deaths, Females, Public health, Sex differences
Copyright Information: © Crown 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2023 06:50
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420299 Epidemiology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200499 Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2099 Other health > 209999 Other health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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