Predictors of Future Fight-Related Injury among Adolescents

Iris Wagman Borowsky, Marjorie Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Objective. Nonfatal fight-related injuries among youths result in lost capacity and high costs of medical care and rehabilitation and constitute a major public health problem. This study identifies factors that predict the occurrence of a fight-related injury that requires medical attention among boys and girls. Methods. We analyzed data from 14 787 adolescents who completing 2 interviews, approximately 1 year apart, in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative, school-based sample of youths. We identified time 1 factors at the community, family, and individual levels that predicted any self-reported fight-related injury that required medical treatment at time 2. Results. Factors that predict future injury among both boys and girls in multivariate models were violence-related factors: witnessing or being a victim of violence (odds ratio [OR]: 3.69; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.81-7.49 for boys; OR: 5.13; 95% CI: 1.25-21.09 for girls), history of a violence-related injury (OR: 2.30; 95% CI: 1.60-3.29 for boys; OR: 3.18; 95% CI: 1.87-5.41 for girls), and physical fighting (OR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.44-2.84 for boys; OR: 5.15; 95% CI: 3.18-8.34 for girls). Among boys, illicit drug use was also an independent predictor of future injury (OR: 1.72; 95% CI: 1.24-2.37), whereas excellent perceived general health (OR: 0.48; 95% CI: 0.25-0.93) and a high grade point average (OR: 0.52; 95% CI: 0.29-0.95) were significant protective factors against fight-related injury. Girls who reported a high level of depressive symptoms were much more likely to report fight-related injury than nondepressed girls (OR: 8.98; 95% CI: 2.43-33.25). Conclusions. Factors related to violence, substance use, school achievement, and physical and mental health predicted a future fight-related injury that required medical treatment. The results could assist health and social service providers, educators, and others in identifying youths who are at high risk for fight-related injury and may benefit from appropriate intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-536
Number of pages7
Issue number3 I
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Adolescents
  • Injury
  • Physical fighting
  • Risk factors
  • Violence


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