Adolescent Health: Prevention of Injury and Death

Lauren McPherson, Janna Gewirtz O'Brien, Katy Miller, Maria V Svetaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unintentional injuries, suicide, and homicide were the leading causes of deaths among US individuals ages 10 to 24 years in 2017. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death by unintentional injury among US adolescents. Family physicians can encourage adolescent patients who drive to use safe driving practices (eg, seat belt use, cell phone-free driving, sober driving). Poisoning and drowning are the second and third most common causes of death by unintentional injury among adolescents, respectively. Suicide is the second overall leading cause of death among adolescents and is a growing problem. Depression is a risk factor. The Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) suicide risk screening tool has been validated for use in patients ages 10 to 21 years in all medical settings. Screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of adolescent patients for depression and development of safety plans are key to suicide prevention. Homicides are the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and firearms are a clear contributor. Family physicians should assess adolescent patients for risk factors for violence, provide trauma-informed care, promote resilience and strong relationships with adults, and empower adolescents to use their strengths and skills to reduce their risk of involvement in violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalFP essentials
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Written permission from the American Academy of Family Physicians is required for reproduction of this material in whole or in part in any form or medium.


Dive into the research topics of 'Adolescent Health: Prevention of Injury and Death'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this