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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2013, Article ID 215126, 8 pages
Research Article

The Prevalence of Very Frequent Physical Fighting among Boys and Girls in 27 Countries and Cities: Regional and Gender Differences

Institute of Public Health, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3995, Atlanta, GA 30302-3995, USA

Received 4 April 2013; Revised 30 May 2013; Accepted 3 June 2013

Academic Editor: Pam R. Factor-Litvak

Copyright © 2013 Monica H. Swahn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Using nationally representative data, this study examined the prevalence of very frequent physical fighting (≥12 times per year) among youth in 27 countries and cities. Frequent physical fighting has rarely been reported in the previous literature despite the implications for research and practice. Methods. Analyses were based on the Global School-based Student Health Survey (2003–2008) and the 2009 US Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Multinomial regression analyses were conducted to determine gender differences in frequent fighting. Countries were categorized into five regions (Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, and the United States), and one-way ANOVA tests were used to determine regional differences. Results. The prevalence of frequent fighting was highest in Zambia (7.7%) and lowest in Myanmar (0.5%). Gender differences were found in 20 countries, with boys being more likely to report frequent fighting than girls. The prevalence of frequent fighting varied by region ( , ), with the Eastern Mediterranean having a significantly higher prevalence of frequent fighting than Asia . Conclusion. The prevalence of frequent fighting varies by gender in many countries and varies across world regions. More cross-national research is needed to better understand the sociocultural context of frequent fighting and to inform youth violence prevention efforts.