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Study Tracks Injuries Suffered in Fights

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About 8 percent of all high-school students have been in a fight that resulted in an injury requiring medical attention during the past month, the results of a federal study show.

The study, completed by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, found that boys were more likely to get into fights than girls, and that minority students were more likely to engage in fighting than non-minority students.

The results of the study give cause for alarm, the researchers write, since the "demographic patterns of physical fighting in this report are consistent with those characterizing homicide."

"These similarities suggest that physical fighting is part of a spectrum of violent behavior that may result in homicide," the report says.

Homicide, the report notes, is the second-leading cause of death for persons ages 15 to 24.

According to the study--which is the latest in a series of reports derived from the C.D.C.'s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national study of 11,631 students in grades 9 through 12 in 1990--more than 12 percent of the male students reported getting into a fight during the past 30 days.

In contrast, 3.6 percent of the female students reported fighting during the previous month.

Nearly 18 percent of the black male students reported getting into a fight during the past month, a higher percentage than any other category of student.

In contrast, white female students were the least violent, with 2.4 percent reporting that they had gotten into a fight.

A disproportionate amount of violence is caused by a distinct minority of students, the report found.

Of the students who reported getting into a fight the previous month, 53.3 percent said they had fought once, 27.8 percent reported two to three altercations, 10.1 percent reported four or five fights, and 10 percent reported six or more fights.

Students who reported four or more fights during the past month, or 1.6 percent of all students, accounted for nearly half of all fights, the study found.
--E.F.

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