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Examining the Matrix With a Gender Lens


For the purposes of this module, we will consider the characteristics of the host that contribute to injury. Each host has a variable predisposition to harm.

The variables can be divided into [1]:

  • genetic — e.g. intelligence, sex, reaction time

  • acquired

    transient states — e.g. fatigue, intoxication

    traits — e.g. judgement, knowledge, social attitudes, lifestyle, beliefs

    permanent changes — e.g. aging and chronic illness

It is important to recognize the differences in both biology(sex) and socialization(gender) that may contribute to injury.

If we re-examine the host factors in the injury matrix from a gender perspective - by using  a ’gender lens’, we see that there are multiple factors affected by either biology (green) or socialization (blue) than first identified by the basic terms of either gender or sex.

In addition, we can appreciate the increased risks of injury or adverse outcome after injury that may be present in an individual’s particular social context, such as lower socio-economic status, with a less equipped vehicle or increased barriers to timely health-care (purple).

A  Haddon Matrix with a Gender Lens [2]

green  = biology

blue = socialization

purple  = Social context/ socio-economic  status



The injury model, above, could be replicated for other injury mechanisms such as occupational falls or youth violence.

  • The social context and differences between men and women is relevant for each example of injury and an important consideration in trying to reduce the burden of injury.

  • While behaviour change may be one of the most difficult factors to alter in injury prevention, further analysis and understanding of the factors involved can help guide public health initiatives to determine who is involved and why.

1.At this point, do you have any further points to add to your list on the differences between men and women in trauma?



WHO Road Traffic Injury Prevention


1. Martinez, R. (1990). "Injury Control: A Primer for Physicians." Annals of Emergency Medicine. 19(1): 72-7.

2. Hargarten, J.W.R.a.S.W. (2002). Principles of the Disease of Injury. Rosen's Emergency Medicine. J.A. Marx. St. Louis, Missouri, Mosby Inc. 1:821-828.

All references for this section