AJPH June 2017 Highlights

Date: Jun 22 2017

AJPH Research: U.S. gun fatality rate, quality of health by occupation, marijuana legalization and vehicle crash fatality rates

CONTACT: For copies of articles, contact David Fouse, 202-777-2501.

American Journal of Public Health research highlights:

Data show no improvement in US gun fatality rate 

Researchers investigated the validity of the apparent downward trend in the national case–fatality rate for gunshot wounds from assault. They reanalyzed the estimated annual number of nonfatal firearm injuries the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System reported from 2003-2012. They adjusted the estimates for discontinuities created by the substitution of one hospital for another in the sample and for a downward trend in the percentage of gunshot injuries classified as "unknown circumstance." Firearm homicide data are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Results found the unadjusted National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimate increased by 49 percent, yielding a decline in the case–fatality rate from 25 percent to 18 percent. Adjustments in this study eliminated these trends; the case–fatality rate was 22 percent in both 2003 and 2012.

"With reasonable adjustments, the trend in nonfatal injuries from interpersonal firearms assault tracks the flat trend in firearms homicides, suggesting that there was no increase in firearms violence during this period,” concluded the authors. “The case–fatality rate did not change, and trauma care improvements did not influence the firearms homicide trend.”

["Constant Lethality of Gunshot Injuries From Firearm Assault: United States, 2003–2012." Contact: Philip J. Cook, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina].

Health-related quality of life affected by occupation

Researchers examined the health-related quality of life among workers in 22 standard occupation groups using data from the 2013–2014 U.S. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. They looked at the health-related quality of life measures of self-rated health, frequent physical distress, frequent mental distress, frequent activity limitation and frequent overall unhealthy days by occupation group for 155,839 currently employed adults among 17 states.

Results found among all occupation groups, the arts, design, entertainment, sports and media occupation group reported the highest adjusted prevalence of frequent physical distress, frequent mental distress, frequent activity limitation and frequent overall unhealthy days. The personal care and service occupation group had the highest adjusted prevalence for fair or poor self-rated health.

"Workers’ jobs affect their health-related quality of life,” concluded the authors.

["Health-Related Quality of Life Among US Workers: Variability Across Occupation Groups.” Contact: Taylor M. Shockey, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio].

No change in vehicle crash fatality rates following legalization of recreational marijuana

Researchers evaluated motor vehicle crash fatality rates in the first two states with recreational marijuana legalization and compared them with motor vehicle crash fatality rates in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization.

Using the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System, they determined the annual numbers of motor vehicle crash fatalities between 2009-2015 in Washington, Colorado and eight control states. They compared year-over-year changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates — per billion vehicle miles traveled — before and after recreational marijuana legalization with a difference-in-differences approach that controlled for underlying time trends and state-specific population, economic and traffic characteristics.

Pre-recreational marijuana legalization annual changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were similar to those for the control states. Post-recreational marijuana legalization changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado also did not significantly differ from those for the control states.

Three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization,” concluded the authors. “Future studies over a longer time remain warranted."

["Crash Fatality Rates After Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Washington and Colorado." Contact: Jayson D. Aydelotte, MD, Trauma Service, Seton-Dell Medical Center at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas].

Find a full list of AJPH research papers published online below:

  • Occupational Variability in Health-Related Quality of Life Among U.S. Workers
  • The disease burden of unintentional poisoning among Chinese population from 1990 to 2015: an analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015
  • Crowdsourced health data: comparability to a US national survey (2013-2015)
  • Constant Lethality of Gunshot Injuries from Firearm Assault, US 2003-2012
  • Inside voices: vocal timbre as a proxy for sex misclassifies respondents on gender-related health behaviors in U.S. phone-based surveys
  • Use of Judicial Bypass for Minors Seeking Abortions in Arkansas and a Comparison with Ten Other States
  • Dust Exposure and Prevention Measures Associated with Clinical Coccidioidomycosis among Workers Constructing Two Solar Power Farms in California
  • Personally Identifiable Information Provisions in State Laws: Use, Release, and Collaboration of Health Departments
  • Deciphering Suicide and Other Manners of Death Associated with Drug Intoxication: A CDC Consultation Meeting Summary
  • Increased Mortality Rates in New Jersey in the Month and Quarter Following Hurricane Sandy
  • Crash Fatality Rates after Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Washington and Colorado
  • Poly-substance use among U.S. reproductive-age women with non-medical opioid use
  • The End of Written Informed Consent for HIV Testing: Not with a Bang but a Whimper

The articles above were published online June 22, 2017, at 4 p.m. EDT by AJPH under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. AJPH is published by the American Public Health Association, and is available at www.ajph.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Mandi Yohn at APHA, 202-777-2509, or email her. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions Department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30, and online single article access is $22 at www.ajph.org. For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email us.

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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that influences federal policy, has a 145-year perspective and brings together members from all fields of public health. Visit www.apha.org