Examination of risk factors and mental health status in an adult accidental fire death population 1998 -2005.

Watts-Hampton, Theresa (2006) Examination of risk factors and mental health status in an adult accidental fire death population 1998 -2005. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


Through the use of Coroner's records the research has demonstrated that people who die in residential fires display a number of environmental, demographic and/or behavioural risk characteristics. The current research has been organised into two studies. Study one had two aims with the first aim to develop the Victoria University (VU) Coroner's Accidental Fire Fatality Database. This would then provide a comprehensive record of all adult fire deaths that occurred in Victoria, Australia between January 1998 and February 2005. The second aim was to use this database to examine risk factors for the overall adult accidental fire fatality population (N = 101). Study two focused on the mentally ill and the aim was to examine whether the mentally ill (MI) (n = 55) compared to the non-mentally ill (NMI) (n = 46) exhibited different risk characteristics. Results indicated this fire death population was overrepresented by males, cigarette smokers, the mentally ill, people not in paid employment, and those aged over 80 years when compared to their proportion of the general Victorian population. When relative risk ratios were calculated it was found that the MI group were 7.9 (CI 95% 2.0-31.8) times more likely than the NMI group to have combined alcohol and drugs prior to their death. The MI were 5.9 (CI 95% 1.9-18.4) times more likely to have a history of careless smoking, a 2.2 (CI 95% 1.4-3.5) increased chance of having a cigarette as an ignition factor and were 3.6 (CI 95% 1.7-7.8) times more prone to have been acting abnormally prior to the fire than the NMI group. Future fire safety measures can be improved by taking into account these risk factors to target campaigns or to tailor interventions that have an effect on the most vulnerable in our community in the context of their environment.

Additional Information

Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Psychology)

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/591
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > RFCD Classification > 290000 Engineering and Technology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords examination; risk; factors; mental health; adult; accidental fire death; 1998-2005
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