Aggression Caused by Family Violence May Lead to Substance Abuse in Adolescents

Boys who are exposed to family violence become more aggressive toward their classmates, and this behavior is linked with greater levels of substance abuse over time, according to a study published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence. The study looked at the effects of family violence, including verbal and physical aggression between siblings.

The University of Illinois researchers studied more than 1,200 students at four middle schools, who completed questionnaires about their levels of substance abuse, and whether they engaged in fighting and bullying. They were asked about conflicts in their homes, including arguing, teasing and physical aggression between siblings. They found 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, which was not associated with bullying and fighting.

Population of focus: Children and youth

Links to resource:

  • News article on The Partnership for DrugFree.org
  • Abstract of study — Family Violence, Bullying, Fighting, and Substance Use Among Adolescents: A Longitudinal Mediational Model

Date: 2013

Journal: Journal of Research on Adolescence