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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Feb 15;17(4). pii: E1248. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17041248.

Physical Fighting among School-Attending Adolescents in El Salvador: An Examination of the 2013 Global School-Based Health Survey.

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Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Research Unit, Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH), University of Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
Injury Epidemiology and Prevention (IEP) Research Group, Turku Brain Injury Centre, Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, 20520 Turku, Finland.


Background: Violence among school-attending adolescents is an important public health problem worldwide. The present study examined demographic correlates for physical fighting behavior among a nationally representative sample of school-attending adolescents in El Salvador. Methods: Initial cross-tabulations to screen for correlations was then followed by logistic regression to understand the direction and the strength of selected demographic variables for physical fighting behavior, which occurred within a 12 month period of recall. Results: Out of a sample of 1910 school-attending adolescents in El Salvador, 11.5% reported having been involved in two or more physical fights during the recall period. Regression analyses indicated that being male (OR = 3.55; 95% CI = 2.11-6.00); having experienced bullying (OR = 2.16; 95% CI = 1.44-3.24); physical activity (OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.46-0.80); a sedentary lifestyle (OR 1.54; 95% CI 1.05-2.27), suicide planning (OR 2.28; 95% CI 1.46-3.56), and having non-understanding parents (OR = 1.45; 95% CI 1.06-1.98) were significantly associated with physical fighting among the sampled adolescents. Conclusion: Within the limitations of cross-sectional surveys conducted in school settings, the results of the present study suggest that giving attention to preventing bullying behavior among males and involving parents should be components of a multi-pronged strategy to preventing physical fighting in schools in El Salvador.


epidemiology; injury prevention; interpersonal violence; mental health; school health

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