Unnecessary Roughness? School Sports, Peer Networks, and Male Adolescent Violence
Participation in contact sports such as wrestling and football in high school increases a male athlete’s likelihood of getting involved in fighting by 40 percent, suggests a study by Derek Kreager, an assistant professor of sociology, crime, law, and justice at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.
In addition, the study found that male high school football players with all football-playing friends were 45 percent more likely to engage in serious fights than football players who had a lot of friends who did not play the sport. It also found that male tennis players were 35 percent less likely to get into fights than males who participated in contact sports.
Using data from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 1994 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the Penn State study analyzed data for more than 6,000 boys in the 7th to 12th grades from 120 schools.
A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2008 edition of Education Week