A new study recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has linked school bullies and future spousal abuse. While the study does not explain the significant connection, researchers say that the new findings will be useful in better understanding domestic violence and the cycle of abuse.

The study was conducted by Jay Silverman, a psychologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. Silverman collected data from 1,500 men in the area, ages 18 to 35, of whom 16 percent reported abusing their partner either physically or sexually within the past year. While 12 percent of the men who had not abused their spouses reported that they had been a bully while in school, 38 percent of the men who had harmed their spouses reported bullying their peers in the past.

The study was careful to take other risk factors of domestic abuse out of the equation, such as growing up with domestic violence. In fact, the study found that exhibiting bullying behavior as a child was more strongly linked with becoming an abuser than growing up as a victim of abuse or witnessing family violence.

While the study does not explain causation, the correlation of the two factors warrants further research, Silverman said, and could help provide new strategies for reducing family violence in the future.
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