UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Intentional and unintentional injuries : an analysis of child and youth injuries as body, mind, and context for the determination of intent Flores de la Parra, Jessica P.


This study involved the analysis of child and youth injury-event descriptions that were provided by adult household members to the USA’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) during 2006-2010. The goal was to see if and how injury-events were described differently by injury-event type (intentional vs. unintentional) and point-of-view (parent vs. non-parent) based on linguistic features, and to note whether such features were an expression of experiential and interpersonal processes from the physical, psychological, or contextual domains. The linguistic analyses also included a query of proxy estimates of deceit to allow for the tracing of potential covert mentions of awareness intent. Findings from this study indicated that the language-use patterns for intentional injury-event descriptions included greater linguistic detail that set them apart from other types of injury-event descriptions, including unintentional, and were more similar to non-parent provided injury-event descriptions. The same was the case for the trialed proxy estimates of deceit. The utility of identifying language-use patterns provides added means to inform the eventual development of a supplementary intentional injury query rubric for use by helping professionals –alongside their existing practice– in disciplines that have an intentional injury intervention and prevention mandate. It is anticipated that the proposed linguistic method of inquiry will contribute to filling the knowledge gap noted in the intentional maltreatment injury (IMI) literature concerning the need to make more accurate the complex process of determination of intent when children and youths present with an intentional injury that is not visibly obvious or severe, and the injury-event is described as if it was unintentional.

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