To examine the risk behaviors associated with participation in the “choking game” by eighth-graders in Oregon.
We obtained data from the 2009 Oregon Healthy Teens survey, a cross-sectional weighted survey of 5348 eighth-graders that questioned lifetime prevalence and frequency of choking game participation. The survey also included questions about physical and mental health, gambling, sexual activity, nutrition, physical activity/body image, exposure to violence, and substance use.
Lifetime prevalence of choking game participation was 6.1% for Oregon eighth-graders, with no differences between males and females. Of the eighth-grade choking game participants, 64% had engaged in the activity more than once and 26.6% >5 times. Among males, black youth were more likely to participate than white youth. Among both females and males, Pacific Islander youth were much more likely to participate than white youth. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that sexual activity and substance use were significantly associated with choking game participation for both males and females.
At >6%, the prevalence of choking game participation among Oregon youth is consistent with previous findings. However, we found that most of those who participate will put themselves at risk more than once. Participants also have other associated health risk behaviors. The comprehensive adolescent well visit, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a good opportunity for providers to conduct a health behavior risk assessment and, if appropriate, discuss the dangers of engaging in this activity.