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Violence

Narrative

Physical violence among adolescents occurs in multiple forms and is a critical public health issue in the United States. Instances of violence include homicide, which was the second leading cause of death among all persons aged 15–24 years in 2007 (the latest year for which data are available).1

Results from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System show that, in 2009, 11.1 percent of high school students reported being in a physical fight on school property during the preceding 12 months. Males were more than twice as likely as females to report having been in a fight (15.1 percent versus 6.7 percent). This disparity was most pronounced among non-Hispanic Whites, where males were almost three times as likely as females to have been in a fight (12.4 percent versus 4.3 percent), although significant sex differences were observed across all racial/ethnic groups. Overall, non-Hispanic White and Asian students were least likely to report having been in a fight (8.6 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively) while over one-fifth of non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native students reported having been in a physical fight on school property in the past year.

Approximately 1 out of every 10 high school students reported that they were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the past 12 months. The prevalence of dating violence was similar across grade levels and among males and females, with one exception. Males in the 11th grade were slightly more likely to report having been victims of dating violence (11.5 percent) than females in the same grade level (9.1 percent).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Accessed July 2011.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

high school students in fights graph

This image is described in the Data section.

high school students experiencing dating violence graph

Data

High School Students in a Physical Fight on School Property in the Past 12 Months, by Sex and Race/Ethnicity*, 2009
Race/Ethnicity Rate per 100,000 Population
Total Male Female
*Data for American Indian/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders do not meet standards for reliability or precision.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1991-2009 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Accessed July 2011.
Total 11.1 15.1 6.7
Non-Hispanic White 8.6 12.4 4.3
Non-Hispanic Black 17.4 22.2 12.5
Hispanic 13.5 17.7 9.3
Non-Hispanic Asian 7.7 11.4 4.1
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 20.7 * *
Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 14.8 * *
Non-Hispanic Two or More Races 12.4 18.3 7.5

High School Students Experiencing Dating Violence* in the Past 12 Months, by Grade and Sex, 2009

Percent of Students

  • Total: 9.8
  • 9th Grade: 9.2
  • 10th Grade: 9.2
  • 11th Grade: 10.4
  • 12th Grade: 10.4

*Dating violence was defined as having been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1991-2009 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Accessed July 2011.


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