Bad Boys?! Adolescent School Injuries and Classroom Sex Compositions in Germany

Andreas Filser , Institute for Employment Research (IAB)
Robert Lipp, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences
Richard Preetz, University of Oldenburg
Sven Stadtm├╝ller, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences

School injuries are an important adolescent health problem. Past research revealed that the social composition of school classes is a major factor for adolescent health. Moreover, there is empirical evidence suggesting that sex ratios of the social environment correlates with patterns of health behavior and aggression. However, research has ignored potential associations of classroom sex ratios with adolescent injury risks so far. In this study, we use longitudinal data from the nation-wide study Health Behavior and Injuries in School Age (GUS) to analyze how classroom sex ratios affect adolescent school injuries in Germany. GUS is a nation-wide panel survey of teenaged students, funded by the German Social Accident Insurance. We limit our analytical sample to adolescent age stages (13-16) in waves 4 and 5, yielding 16,000 person-years. The data allows us to distinguish injuries that are due to risk-taking from those resulting from aggression. Using multi-level logistic regressions models, results reveal that overall at-school injuries are significantly and positively associated with classroom percentages of male students. When restricting our sample to only those injuries due to risk-taking we do not find a similar association. Instead, we find that injuries caused by someone else are significantly associated with classroom sex ratios. When splitting our data by gender, this association remains significant for boys, but not for girls. In conclusion, we interpret our findings in the way that high shares of male students in class are associated with increased levels of injuries due to aggression among adolescent boys.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality