Fighting among Jerusalem adolescents: personal and school-related factors

J Adolesc Health. 2000 Sep;27(3):218-23. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(00)00095-1.


Purpose: To study the prevalence of physical fighting among youth and its association with personal and school-related factors.

Methods: Pupils in the 8th and 10th grades (n = 1182, ages 13-16 years) in 11 Jerusalem secular and religious schools anonymously completed the World Health Organization questionnaire from the Health Behavior in School Children study. The unit of analysis was defined as the number of times the student was involved in physical fighting during the past year. The independent variables studied were sociodemographic characteristics, personal, and school-related factors including teachers, peers, and family.

Results: Fighting at least once was reported by 76% of boys and 26% of girls; 6% of boys who were involved in fights at least once and 16% more than once required medical treatment. For boys, bullying others, poor health and mental health score, and perception of teachers that the pupil was a below-average student significantly increased the odds ratio (OR) for fighting more than once in the past year. Among girls, poor mental health, poor parental support on school matters, bullying, and being bullied by others increased the OR for fighting.

Conclusions: Fighting is a highly prevalent behavior among adolescents irrespective of their socioeconomic background. Determinants differ by gender, and intervention programs should focus on the gender-specific determinants.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression* / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Schools*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires