Mixed martial arts' (MMAs) growing international popularity has rekindled the discussion on the advantages (e.g., exercise) and disadvantages (e.g., possible injury) of contact sports. This study was the first of its kind to examine the psychosocial aspects of MMA and youth violence using an epidemiologic approach with an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) adolescent sample (N = 881). The results were consistent with the increased popularity of MMA with 52% (adolescent males = 73%, adolescent females = 39%) enjoying watching MMA and 24% (adolescent males = 39%, adolescent females = 13%) practicing professional fight moves with friends. Although statistically significant ethnic differences were found for the two MMA items on a bivariate level, these findings were not statistically significant when considering other variables in the model. The bivariate results revealed a cluster of risk-protective factors. Regarding the multiple regression findings, although enjoying watching MMA remained associated with positive attitudes toward violence and practicing fight moves remained associated with negative out-group orientation, the MMA items were not associated with unique variances of youth violence perpetration and victimization. Implications included the need for further research that includes other diverse samples, more comprehensive and objective MMA and violence measures, and observational and intervention longitudinal studies.
Violence and Victims 02/2012; 27(1):43-69. DOI:10.1891/0886-6708.27.1.43 · 1.28 Impact Factor