Objective: To investigate the prevalence of physical fighting among Swedish adolescents and to compare the health profile and risk-taking behaviour of the fighters with a non-fighting "diplomatic" group.
Methods: Results are based on 4516 self-reports, representing 82% of available students with mean age of 13.5, 15.5 and 17.5 years.
Results: Among 13.5-year-olds, 22% of males and 5% of females reported three or more fights. Fighting decreased with age. Significantly more fighters reported problem behaviours and fewer had healthy habits than the "diplomats". Significantly more fighters also suffered from psychosomatic disorders and injuries requiring medical services. Twenty percent of the fighting males stated that they would definitely continue to fight.
Conclusion: The data indicate that physical fighting is strongly associated with other problem behaviours, which needs to be considered when designing prevention and intervention.