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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Violence in the Home Leads to Substance Abuse

A new study conducted at the University of Illinois found that boys who experience violence in the home become more aggressive toward their classmates, which leads to greater levels of substance abuse.

Researchers studied more than 1,200 students who completed questionnaires about their levels of substance abuse. Conflicts in their homes, arguing, teasing and physical aggression between siblings was observed. The effects of family violence, ranging from verbal to physical aggression between siblings were identified, Medical Xpress reports.

The study found that bullying and fighting are linked to family violence and substance abuse in boys. Girls exposed to family violence reported higher levels of substance abuse over time as well.

“There’s been a growing consensus that family violence is a training ground for peer aggression and associated risk behaviors such as substance abuse,” lead researcher Dorothy Espelage said in a news release. “However, awareness of the impact of sibling aggression on bullying has lagged behind other types of family violence. It is imperative that researchers investigating the family context of bullying and substance abuse examine not only violence involving parents but also that involving siblings.”

The study appears in the Journal of Research on Adolescence.

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