Exploring the Social-Ecological Determinants of Physical Fighting in U.S. Schools: What about Youth in Immigrant Families?

Abstract

Background

Despite the growing presence of immigrant families in the US, little is known about physical fighting in school among youth from those families.

Objective

The present study examines the social-ecological determinants of school physical fighting among youth in immigrant families. Implications for practice are also discussed.

Method

Using the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study data set, the study sample consisted of 4288 immigrant students in 9th–12th grade. Models were estimated using multivariate logistic regression. Variables in the individual, family, friend/peer, and school contexts were included by fitting four hierarchical logistic models to the data.

Results

Results indicated that youth in immigrant families who are males, in lower grade level, racial/ethnic minorities, and of low family socio-economic status (individual) were likely to engage in physical fights. Youth in immigrant families who feel detached from their parents (family); speak another language with friends (friend/peer); and perceive school discipline to be unfair, feel discriminated against by teachers, and who perceive school crimes to be a problem (school) are also at an elevated risk of physical fights.

Conclusion

Findings from the study contribute to a growing body of research on youth in immigrant families.

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Hong, J.S., Merrin, G.J., Peguero, A.A. et al. Exploring the Social-Ecological Determinants of Physical Fighting in U.S. Schools: What about Youth in Immigrant Families?. Child Youth Care Forum 45, 279–299 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-015-9330-1

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Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Fighting
  • Immigrants
  • Social-ecological framework
  • Youth