Boys who are bullies are nearly four times as likely as non-bullies to grow up to physically or sexually abuse their female partners, a study led by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found. With growing public concern over bullying, the authors said they wanted to examine the tie to domestic abuse because both abusers and bullies are driven by the desire to exert control over another person.
The researchers surveyed 1,491 men between ages 18 and 35 who were recruited from three Boston community health centers. Of the 241 men who reported being violent toward a partner in the previous year, 64.3 percent said they had bullied other children during their school days. After using statistical methods to account for other factors that affect both bullies and abusers, such as exposure to parental violence, the researchers found that the 92 participants who said they had frequently engaged in bullying were 3.8 times more likely to have later abused their adult partners.
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