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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Jul 24;6:18.

Prevalence and associated factors of physical fighting among school-going adolescents in Namibia.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA.



Interpersonal physical violence is an important global public health concern that has received limited attention in the developing world. There is in particular a paucity of data regarding physical violence and its socio-demographic correlates among in-school adolescents in Namibia.


We analysed cross-sectional data from the Namibia Global School-Based Health Survey (GSHS) conducted in 2004. We aimed to estimate the prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of physical fighting within the last 12 months. We obtained frequencies of socio-demographic attributes. We also assessed the association between self-reported history of having engaging in a physical fight and a selected list of independent variables using logistic regression analysis.


Of the 6283 respondents, 50.6% (55.2% males and 46.2% females) reported having been in a physical fight in the past 12 months. Males were more likely to have been in a physical fight than females (OR = 1.71, 95% CI (1.44, 2.05)). Smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs and bullying victimization were positively associated with fighting (OR = 1.91, 95% CI (1.49, 2.45); OR = 1.48, 95% CI (1.21, 1.81); OR = 1.55, 95% CI (1.22, 1.81); and OR = 3.12, 95% CI (2.62, 3.72), respectively). Parental supervision was negatively associated with physical fighting (OR = 0.82, 95% CI (0.69, 0.98)). Both male and female substance users (cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug use) were more likely to engage in physical fighting than non-substance users (OR = 3.53, 95% CI (2.60, 4.81) for males and OR = 11.01, 95% CI (7.25, 16.73) for females). Parental supervision was negatively associated with physical fighting (OR = 0.85, 95% CI (0.72, 0.99)).


Prevalence of physical fighting within the last 12 months was comparable to estimates obtained in European countries. We also found clustering of problem behaviours or experiences among adolescents who reported having engaged in physical violence in the past 12 months. There is a need to bring adolescent violent behaviour to the fore of the public health agenda in Namibia.

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