Why Teenage Boys Fight: New Research Identifies Risk Factors

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African American and Latino boys are more often involved in fights, according to researchers who study racial and ethnic risk factors for fighting. They surveyed more than 4,000 teenagers in California, between the ages of 12 and 17 and found:

  • 27% of African American teens reported fighting
  • 24% of Latino teens say they fight
  • 16% of white teens fight
  • 6% of Asian/Pacific Islander teens fight

The study, reported this month in the Journal of Academic Pediatrics, found that alcohol and smoking increased the odds of fighting among whites and Latinos. Poverty was a factor for African Americans.  White kids who got more support from their families had fewer fights, while Latino kids who got more support at school were less likely to fight.

The research concludes that prevention efforts should be tailored to these differences, as well as family and community factors.

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