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Journal Article


Yang L, Zhang Y, Xi B, Bovet P. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017; 14(11): e14111427.


Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University Hospital Center, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland.


(Copyright © 2017, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Youth violence is an important public health challenge around the world, yet the literature on this problem in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has been limited. The present study aims to examine the prevalence of adolescent physical fighting (defined as having been involved in at least one physical fight during the past 12 months) in selected LMICs, and its relations with potential risk factors. We included 6377 school-going adolescents aged 13-15 years from six Western Pacific (WP) countries that had recently conducted a Global School-based Student Health Survey. Information was gathered through a self-administered anonymous closed-ended questionnaire. The prevalence of adolescent physical fighting varied across countries, ranging from 34.5% in Kiribati to 63.3% in Samoa. The prevalence was higher in boys than in girls, and lower at age 15 than 13-14 years. Physical fighting was significantly associated (pooled odds ratios (ORs), 95% confidence intervals (CIs)) with smoking (1.78, 1.53-2.06), drinking (1.57, 1.33-1.85), drug use (1.72, 1.33-2.23), and missing school (1.72, 1.51-1.95). The association with physical fighting increased with increasing number of joint adverse behaviors (increased from 1.99 (1.73-2.29) for one risk behavior to 4.95 (4.03-6.07) for at least 3 risk behaviors, versus having none of the 4 risk behaviors). The high prevalence of physical fighting and the associations with risk behaviors emphasize the need for comprehensive prevention programs to reduce youth violence and associated risk behaviors.

Language: en


Western Pacific; adolescents; alcohol drinking; low- and middle-income countries; physical fighting; smoking; youth violence


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