"It was fascinating that this link just refused to be explained away," said Kerr.
Capaldi, who is a senior scientist with Oregon Social Learning Center and has studied issues around domestic violence for many years, said the study indicates the risk factors for men's violence toward women differ from much of what is accepted.
"Conventional wisdom portrays men's violence to women as more cold, controlled and calculated," she said. "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."
Capaldi added that this finding is consistent with a growing body of recent work indicating that 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," she said. "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."
"These findings do not mean that violent men can claim, 'I can't help myself,' " Kerr added. "Partner violence is a huge problem for women and children, and men are responsible for their behavior."
The researchers say that thinking about (rather than attempting) suicide in adolescence has been found to predict mental health problems and suicide risk in adulthood, but was not related to partner abuse or injury in this study.
The difference between suicidal thoughts versus actual suicidal behavior could be important to understanding why suicide attempts predicted later partne
|Contact: David Kerr|
Oregon State University