Objective Peer victimization engenders physical injuries both indirectly and directly. This study highlights the various circumstances in which injuries are sustained by young teenagers when physically interacting with other students, focusing on the context surrounding those injuries sustained as a result of violent actions.
Methods Data were extracted from information already available from structured interviews conducted during two consecutive school years with children aged 10–15 years who had been hospitalized due to injury and who were residing in Stockholm County (Sweden) (n = 634). The current study considers those injuries resulting from physical interactions between students and also pays attention to the sex and age distribution of the victims. The free text descriptions of the “interaction” injuries resulting from violent actions were re-read and examined by means of content analysis.
Results Of the injuries reported, 23.5% resulted from physical interactions between students. The most frequent context of their occurrence was sports and play. Other injuries resulted from either assaults where the victim was in a clear imbalance of power (n = 24) or from violent incidents where the victim was not powerless (n = 27). The two latter situations were much more common among boys.
Conclusions Peer victimization impacts on children’s safety both within and outside the school arena. Students are injured by their peers not only as a result of deliberate violence targeting them, but also in violent physical interactions in which they play an active role. These injurious events have a clear sex and age component.