The purpose of this study was to estimate the frequency and to assess the determinants of physical fighting among Portuguese school-going adolescents.
A cross-sectional evaluation of urban adolescents born in 1990 and enrolled in public and private schools of Porto was performed in 2007. We identified 3161 17-year-old eligible adolescents and 73.3% accepted to participate. Information was collected using a self-administered questionnaire assessing socio-demographic, behavioural, family and health-related characteristics. The magnitude of the associations between those characteristics and physical fighting was estimated using logistic regression.
Overall, 33.8% of adolescents (48.6% of boys and 20.1% of girls; p < 0.001) engaged in a physical fight during the previous 12 months. The school premises were the most frequently reported setting where fights occurred (girls–41.2% and boys–46.7%, p = 0.179). After adjustment, and in both genders, we found statistically significant associations between physical fighting and grade retention, smoking, drinking and age at first sexual intercourse.
Physical fighting among school-going adolescents is frequent, tends to occur at school premises and to cluster with other well recognized adverse health behaviours.