What is it about?

Drowning is a complex public health issue caused by a range of factors such as what we do in, on, and around beaches and rivers individual characteristics including swimming skills, personality traits and risk-taking, and who we swim with, i.e. our influences. We were interested in individual and socio-cultural factors alcohol use, resisting peer influence, sensation seeking, and perceived risk among young people aged 15 – 24 in Western Australia. The relationship of these factors and their influence on behaviour in and around water are explored.

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Why is it important?

In Australia, drowning deaths among young people aged 15 -24, increased by 21% in 2020/2021. While we know drowning deaths are preventable, having a better understanding of the factors unique to young people that may lead to drowning is important for developing appropriate messages and strategies for water safety and prevention programs.


Writing this article provides insights into factors we don't know a lot about. We were keen to explore factors with young West Australians that could be used to improve the awareness and education components of young adult water safety strategies used here and in other countries like NZ and Canada. We trust it adds to the small evidence base.

Associate Professor Justine E Leavy

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Drinking and swimming around waterways: The role of alcohol, sensation-seeking, peer influence and risk in young people, PLoS ONE, November 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276558.
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