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

June 6, 2011

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

Suicidal thoughts rapidly reduced with ketamine, finds study

December 14, 2017
Ketamine was significantly more effective than a commonly used sedative in reducing suicidal thoughts in depressed patients, according to researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). They also found that ketamine's ...

Do bullies have more sex?

December 14, 2017
Adolescents who are willing to exploit others for personal gain are more likely to bully and have sex than those who score higher on a measure of honesty and humility. This is according to a study in Springer's journal Evolutionary ...

Children's screen-time guidelines too restrictive, according to new research

December 14, 2017
Digital screen use is a staple of contemporary life for adults and children, whether they are browsing on laptops and smartphones, or watching TV. Paediatricians and scientists have long expressed concerns about the impact ...

Eating together as a family helps children feel better, physically and mentally

December 14, 2017
Children who routinely eat their meals together with their family are more likely to experience long-term physical and mental health benefits, a new Canadian study shows.

The iceberg model of self-harm

December 14, 2017
Researchers have created a model of self-harm that shows high levels of the problem in the community, especially in young girls, and the need for school-based prevention measures.

Anti-stress compound reduces obesity and diabetes

December 13, 2017
For the first time, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich could prove that a stress protein found in muscle has a diabetes promoting effect. This finding could pave the way to a completely new treatment ...

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.