FRIDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Taking a punch is more than a
blow to a teenager's self-esteem. Teen girls who suffer just one
fight-related injury experience an IQ loss that's equal to missing
a year of school, and teen boys have a similar loss of IQ after two
fight-related injuries, according to a new study.
The findings are important because decreases in IQ are
associated with poorer school and work performance, mental
disorders, behavioral problems and even longevity, the Florida
State University researchers noted. They said that about 4 percent
of U.S. high school students suffer fight-related injuries each
The study authors analyzed data on 20,000 middle and high school
students who were followed into adulthood. Not surprisingly, boys
had a higher number of fight-related injuries than girls, but the
IQ-related consequences of such injuries were more severe for
girls. This is likely because of physical differences that give
males an increased ability to withstand injuries, the researchers
Each fight-related injury resulted in an average loss of 1.62 IQ
points for boys and a loss of 3.02 IQ points for girls. Previous
research has indicated that missing a year of school is associated
with a loss of 2 to 4 IQ points.
The study was released online July 26 in advance of print
publication in the
Journal of Adolescent Health.
The data used in the study took into account fight-related
injuries to all parts of the body. The impact on IQ may be even
greater if only head injuries are looked at, according to the
They said their findings highlight the importance of taking
steps to reduce injuries suffered by teens through fighting,
bullying or contact sports. The teen years are a critical period of
"We tend to focus on factors that may result in increases in intelligence over time, but examining the factors that result in decreases may be just as important," study co-author Joseph Schwartz, a doctoral student in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, said in a university news release.
"The first step in correcting a problem is understanding its underlying causes. By knowing that fighting-related injuries result in a significant decrease in intelligence, we can begin to develop programs and protocols aimed at effective intervention," he explained.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers young
guide to getting along.