The Straits Times
Published on Dec 05, 2012

Teen fighting down in many nations, but not in US: Study


(REUTERS) - Fistfights among children have become less common over the last decade in 19 out of 30 countries surveyed in a Canadian study - but fighting in the United States (US) and Canada has remained steady, while it has risen in countries such as Greece.

"It was not something that we anticipated," said Professor William Pickett, lead author of the study, which appeared in the journal Pediatrics. "If anything, given what you hear in the news, I would have anticipated the reverse." Fighting among children is an important public health problem, added Prof Pickett, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada. Not only does it increase their chances of getting hurt, but it's also tied up in other dangerous behaviours, such as drinking and using drugs.

To gauge how big the problem is internationally, Prof Pickett and his colleagues surveyed nearly half a million school children in 30 countries, most of them in Europe. The children were between 11 and 15 years old.

In 2002, 154,000 children responded to the questionnaire, which asked how often they fought. Another 166,000 responded in 2006, and 174,000 responded in 2010.