Serious Fighting-Related Injuries Produce a Significant Reduction in Intelligence

-Full report-


  • Joseph A. Schwartz, M.A.
  • Kevin M. Beaver, Ph.D.

Published: July 26th, 2013  the Journal of Adolescent Health

Report Intro/Brief:
Fighting-related injuries are common among adolescents within the United States, but how such injuries relate to subsequent cognitive functioning remains unclear. In particular, the long-term effect of fighting-related injuries suffered during important developmental periods, such as adolescence, on subsequent cognitive functioning has been overlooked by previous studies. The purpose of this study is to examine the association between sustaining serious fighting-related injuries and changes in verbal intelligence (IQ) over a 5- to 6-year time period.

Longitudinal multivariate statistical models were used to analyze data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health collected between 1994 and 2002 and analyzed in 2013.

Even a single fighting-related injury resulted in a significant reduction in IQ over time even after controlling for age, race, sex, and changes in socioeconomic status (SES) over the study period. Additionally, females experienced a significantly greater reduction in IQ from each fighting-related injury than males.

Fighting-related injuries have a significant impact on subsequent cognitive functioning and intelligence. The implications for future policies and research are discussed in more detail.”
-from the abstract


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