Study suggests link between childhood bullying and adult intimate partner violence perpetration

June 6, 2011, JAMA and Archives Journals

Men who report having bullied peers in childhood appear to have an increased risk of perpetrating violence against an intimate partner in adulthood, according to a report posted online today by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The authors point out, as background information, that roughly one-quarter of women will experience from intimate partners, and that prior research suggests up to 40 percent of men have been perpetrators of such violence. The authors sought to determine whether a history of school has any relationship to intimate-partner violence (IPV). "Recent evidence," they explain, "strongly indicates that bullying peers in school may share common prior causes with IPV perpetration."

Kathryn L. Falb, M.H.S., from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, and colleagues conducted a survey at three urban community health centers. The 1,491 participants were men ages 18 to 35 years old. The survey included questions about past-year IPV perpetration, school bullying perpetration, bullying victimization, exposure to parental IPV and to community violence, childhood experiences of physical or sexual abuse and participation in nonviolent or violent delinquency.

More than 40 percent of respondents reported that they rarely or frequently bullied others as children. Approximately 16 percent of men reported perpetrating physical or sexual IPV in the last year (n = 241). Of those men, 38.2 percent (n = 92) reported that they had frequently bullied other students in childhood and 26.1 percent (n = 63) reported that they had rarely bullied other students. When other risk factors were taken into account, infrequent bullies had 1.53 times the odds as nonbullies to perpetrate IPV, whereas frequent bullies had 3.82 times the odds of perpetrating past-year IPV.

"Critically, this analysis demonstrates that those reporting school bullying are significantly more likely to perpetrate physical or sexual IPV," state the authors. They call for additional research to clarify why these behaviors may be related. In the meantime, the researchers add, "Potential programs that may seek to reduce bullying during school may also be effective avenues to reduce future violence perpetration within relationships by focusing on the reduction of abusive behaviors and the promotion of equitable attitudes across settings, life stages, and relationships."

More information: Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.91

Related Stories

Recommended for you

People with prosthetic arms less affected by common illusion

January 22, 2018
People with prosthetic arms or hands do not experience the "size-weight illusion" as strongly as other people, new research shows.

Study of learning and memory problems in OCD helps young people unlock potential at school

January 22, 2018
Adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have widespread learning and memory problems, according to research published today. The findings have already been used to assist adolescents with OCD obtain the help ...

Intensive behavior therapy no better than conventional support in treating teenagers with antisocial behavior

January 19, 2018
Research led by UCL has found that intensive and costly multisystemic therapy is no better than conventional therapy in treating teenagers with moderate to severe antisocial behaviour.

Babies' babbling betters brains, language

January 18, 2018
Babies are adept at getting what they need - including an education. New research shows that babies organize mothers' verbal responses, which promotes more effective language instruction, and infant babbling is the key.

College branding makes beer more salient to underage students

January 18, 2018
In recent years, major beer companies have tried to capitalize on the salience of students' university affiliations, unveiling marketing campaigns and products—such as "fan cans," store displays, and billboard ads—that ...

Inherited IQ can increase in early childhood

January 18, 2018
When it comes to intelligence, environment and education matter – more than we think.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.