School bullying perpetration and other childhood risk factors as predictors of adult intimate partner violence perpetration

Kathryn L. Falb, Heather L. McCauley, Michele R. Decker, Jhumka Gupta, Anita Raj, Jay G. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the relationship between bullying peers as a child and adult intimate partner violence perpetration in a clinic-based sample of adult men. School bullying perpetration and intimate partner violence perpetration are both thought to stem from desire for power and control over others. Design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted between January 2005 and December 2006. Setting: Three urban community health centers in Boston, Massachusetts. Participants: Men aged 18 to 35 years (n=1491) seeking services at participating community health centers. Main Exposure: School bullying perpetration. Outcome Measure: Past-year physical or sexual violence perpetration against a female partner (intimatepartner violence [IPV]). Results: Two-fifths of men reported perpetrating school bullying as a child (n=610; 40.9%). Men who rarely bullied in school were 1.53 times more likely to perpetrate pastyear IPV than men who did not bully (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-2.29); this risk was elevated to 3.82 times more likely to perpetrate any past-year IPV for those men who bullied peers frequently (95% CI, 2.55-5.73). Conclusions: Thepresentstudyindicatesthatbullyingpeers in school as a child, especially frequent bullying perpetration, is associated with increased risk for men's perpetration of IPV as an adult. The effect remains strong after controlling forcommonprior risk factors for both bullying and IPV perpetration. Future research is needed to discern the mechanisms and underlying root causes of abusive behavior, such as power and control, as a means to prevent violence perpetration across settings and life stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-894
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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