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Adolescent Physical Fighting in Ghana, Their Demographic and Social Characteristics


  • Emmanuel O. Acquah

    () (Centre for Learning Research, Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku, Turku 20014, Finland)

  • Jennifer K. Lloyd

    () (Centre for Injury Prevention and Community Safety, PeerCorps Trust Fund, 352/64 Makunganya Street, Co-Architecture Building, 4th Floor, Dar es Salaam 22499, Tanzania)

  • Laura Davis

    () (Centre for Injury Prevention and Community Safety, PeerCorps Trust Fund, 352/64 Makunganya Street, Co-Architecture Building, 4th Floor, Dar es Salaam 22499, Tanzania)

  • Michael L. Wilson

    () (Centre for Injury Prevention and Community Safety, PeerCorps Trust Fund, 352/64 Makunganya Street, Co-Architecture Building, 4th Floor, Dar es Salaam 22499, Tanzania
    Unit of Adolescent Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, Kaskenkatu 18 A 3, Turku 20700, Finland)


Physical fighting is an important behavioral concern of public health importance among adolescents worldwide. The present study examines the patterns and correlates of physical fighting among a school-based population in a low-income country setting. Data on 6235 adolescents aged 11–16 years were derived from the Republic of Ghana contributions to the Global School-based Health Survey. Three thresholds of participation in a physical fight during a 12-month recall period were compared against several independent sociodemographic variables. Bivariate analyses were used to screen for statistically significant associations and multinomial logistic regression was used to examine significant relationships while adjusting for covariates. Within the recall period, 32% of adolescents had reported being involved in two or more physical fights. Those involved in a physical fight during three or more days during the recall period were more likely to have been bullied (relative risk ratios (RRR) = 1.86; 99% confidence intervals (CI): 1.38–2.52), have had a troubled experience with alcohol (RRR = 2.202; CI = 1.55–2.64), and miss days of school (RRR = 2.02; CI = 1.39–2.92). When adjusted only for age and sex, having understanding parents was protective (RRR = 0.64; CI = 0.53–0.78) as was having a positive school environment (RRR = 0.73; CI = 0.55–0.97). Our findings suggest that school-based programming which simultaneously targets multiple risk behaviors and conflict resolution may be helpful in interventions to reduce rates of physical fighting.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel O. Acquah & Jennifer K. Lloyd & Laura Davis & Michael L. Wilson, 2014. "Adolescent Physical Fighting in Ghana, Their Demographic and Social Characteristics," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(2), pages 1-15, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:3:y:2014:i:2:p:227-241:d:35749

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel O. Acquah & Michael L. Wilson & David T. Doku, 2014. "Patterns and Correlates for Bullying among Young Adolescents in Ghana," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(4), pages 1-14, October.

    More about this item


    adolescents; violence; physical fighting; epidemiology; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • A - General Economics and Teaching
    • B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology
    • N - Economic History
    • P - Economic Systems
    • Y80 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines - - - Related Disciplines
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General


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