Teen Boys Who Attempted Suicide Are More at Risk for Domestic Violence

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A new study suggests that teenage men are more likely to be involved with domestic violence if they have attempted suicide .David Kerr and Deborah Capaldi of the Oregon State University in Corvallis suggested for some men violence may be related to a history of impulsive aggression that includes self-harm.

"The study began when these men were kids, before anyone knew who was going to become violent. That is quite different from research that starts with violent men, or women from a domestic violence shelter, and tries to look back in time for explanations," explained one of the study's authors, Dr David Kerr.

The study used a variety of sources to gather their information including data from official domestic violence arrest records, women's own reports of injury and live observations of the couples.

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What the team found was that young men who attempted suicide were more aggressive toward their partners. "It was fascinating that this link just refused to be explained away," Dr Kerr said. "Conventional wisdom portrays men's violence to women as more cold, controlled and calculated. The findings of this study indicate that for some men violence is related to a history of impulsive aggression that includes self-harm as well as aggression to others," Kerr noted.

The researchers additionally discovered that the findings are quite consistent with a recent work that indicates both men and women who are physically aggressive toward a partner have histories of problems with aggressive and impulsive behavior.

"The study has critically important implications for prevention and treatment. When men are told domestic abuse is solely due to cold, controlling and systematic battering, they may dismiss their own problem since such a pattern may not apply to them. If men understood that it may more be related to controlling anger and impulsive reactions when under stress, they may become more aware that they are at risk and take the responsibility for learning how to avoid this," they said.

"Suicidal behavior is not trivial at any age. It is not just teenage drama or angst. Rather, it reflects a vulnerability that can have long-term consequences for individuals, and now we know, for their partners too," Dr Kerr added.

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