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Am J Prev Med. 1998 Feb;14(2):122-9.

Weapon-carrying, physical fighting, and fight-related injury among U.S. adolescents.

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Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



Access to firearms and other weapons has been cited as an important factor contributing to the rise in violence-related injury among adolescents in the United States.


Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey supplement to the 1992 National Health Interview Survey were analyzed to examine relationships among weapon-carrying, physical fighting, and fight-related injury among U.S. adolescents aged 12-21 years (N = 10,269). Adjusted odds ratios (OR) were used to describe the association of weapon-carrying during the past 30 days with physical fighting and fight-related injury during the past 12 months.


Weapon-carrying (15%) and physical fighting (39%) were common among adolescents. One out of 30 (3.3%) adolescents reported receiving medical care for fight-related injuries. Controlling for demographic characteristics, youth who carried weapons were more likely than those who did not to have been in a physical fight (OR = 3.3). The association between weapon-carrying and physical fighting was stronger among females (OR = 5.0) than among males (OR = 2.9), but did not vary significantly by age, race/ethnicity, or place of residence (urban, suburban, rural). Controlling for frequency of physical fighting and demographics, adolescents who carried a handgun (OR = 2.6) or other weapon (OR = 1.6) were more likely than those who did not carry a weapon to have had medical care for fight-related injuries.


Among adolescents, weapon-carrying is associated with increased involvement in physical fighting and a greater likelihood of injury among those who do fight. Efforts to reduce fight-related injuries among youth should stress avoidance of weapon-carrying.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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