School bullies more likely to be abusers as adults

June 1, 2011

Men who reported that they had bullied classmates in school were found to be significantly more physically and sexually abusive to their female partners as adults.

Men who reported that they had bullied classmates in school were found to be significantly more physically and sexually abusive to their female partners as adults.

Researchers reported that among 1,491 men aged 18 to 35 years who participated in the Men's Ecological Systems, Development, and Abuse Study, those who said they frequently had bullied other students and those who reported rarely bullying their peers were 5.63 times and 1.92 times, respectively, more likely to have abused their adult female partners within the past year as men who said they never had bullied their peers.

Twenty-eight percent of study participants had been exposed to parental intimate partner violence (IPV) as children, 44% had experienced physical child abuse, and 21% had been victims of sexual child abuse. Sixteen percent frequently bullied their peers in school, and 10% reported frequently being bullying victims. In addition, 31% of participants reported violent youth delinquency.

Falb KL, McCauley HL, Decker MR, Gupta J, Raj A, Silverman JG. School bullying perpetration and other childhood risk factors as predictors of adult intimate partner violence perpetration. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011. Epub ahead of print.