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Objectives. To examine trends in and correlates of fighting and violence among youths from the three largest racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

Methods. The authors derived race/ethnicity-specific prevalence estimates for fighting, group fighting, and attacks with intent to harm from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a population-based study of youths age 12 to 17.

Results. The prevalence of youth fighting and violence decreased significantly in all racial/ethnic groups over the study period (2002–2014), dropping from a high of 33.6% in 2003 to a low of 23.7% in 2014, reflecting a 29% decrease in the relative proportion of young people involved in these behaviors. However, there was also a clear severity gradient in which year-by-year point estimates for fighting and violence were consistently highest among non-Hispanic African American youths, followed by Hispanic and then non-Hispanic White youths.

Conclusions. Although fighting and violence are on the decline among young people in general and across racial/ethnic subgroups, there is a stable pattern of disparities in youth involvement in these behaviors.


Salas-Wright, C. P., Nelson, E. J., Vaughn, M. G., Reingle Gonzalez, J. M., & Córdova, D. (2017). Trends in fighting and violence among adolescents in the United States: Evidence from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002–2014. American Journal of Public Health. Advance online publication. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.303743

Related Institute

Published Date



Dropout Prevention
Health/Social Work

Type of Resource

Journal Article/Book Chapter



Grade Level

Middle School
High School