Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. SD 2.1 Physical Fighting by Youth

04/01/1997

Physical violence is a major cause of injury and homicide among adolescents.8 In 1995, almost half of all male students and nearly one third of female students in grades 9-12 reported having been involved in a physical fight during the previous year. For males, there is a slight decrease in the percentage that reported involvement in a fight in 1993 from 51 percent to 46 percent (see Figure SD 2.1).

Differences by Age. In both 1993 and 1995, the percentage of students who report being involved in fights decreased with age (see Table SD 2.1). In 1995, 47 percent of 9th grade students and 31 percent of 12th grade students reported being involved in a fight. It is unclear, however, whether this reduction reflects the effects of increasing maturity, a change in the propensity to report having been in a fight, or a tendency for violence-prone youth to drop out of school, leaving a less violent pool of students in the higher grades.

Differences by Race.9 White students appear somewhat less likely than black or Hispanic students to report having engaged in physical fights. In 1995, 36 percent of white students reported involvement in a physical fight within the last year, compared with 42 percent of black students and 48 percent of Hispanic students.
 
 

Figure SD 2.1  
Percentage of Students in Grades 912 Who Report that They Have Been in a Physical Fight Within the Last Year, by Sex: 1993 and 1995. 

SD2_1.GIF

Source: Data for 1993 from: Youth Risk, Behavior Surveillance - United States 1993. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 44, No. SS-1, 1995. Data for 1995 from: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 1995. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 45, No. SS-4, 1996.
 
 

Table SD 2.1 
Percentage of Students in Grades 9-12 Who Report that They Have Been in a Physical Fight Within the Last Year: 1993 and 1995

                 
     
1993
     
1995
 
   
 
 
 
   
Total
Male
Female
 
Total
Male
Female
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
42
51
32
 
39
46
31
  Grade
  9
50
59
41
 
47
55
37
  10
42
52
32
 
40
46
34
  11
41
52
28
 
37
46
28
  12
35
43
27
 
31
38
24
                 
  Race/Ethnicity Group
  White, 
Non-Hispanic
40
50
30
 
36
44
27
  Black , 
Non-Hispanic
50
58
42
 
42
49
35
  Hispanic
43
52
34
 
48
56
40
                 
Source: Data for 1993 from: "Youth Risk, Behavior Surveillance - United States 1993." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 44, No. SS-1, 1995. Data for 1995 from: "Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance - United States, 1995." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 45, No. SS-4, 1996.

 

8 University of California at Los Angeles, CDC. "The Epidemiology of Homicide in Los Angeles, 1970-79." Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1985. Cited in Chronic Disease and Health Promotion, Reprints from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: 1990-1991 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1992. P. 37.

9 Estimates for whites and blacks exclude Hispanics of those races.
 

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