A new study by the University of Illinois involving 1,200 students found that boys exposed to family violence become increasingly aggressive toward their peers at school and that this aggression is associated with greater levels of alcohol and drug use over time. The study also found that while family violence more directly influences girls’ alcohol and drug use during adolescence it seems to do so independently of aggressive behaviour.

The study indicates that adolescent substance abuse has roots in bullying, fighting and family violence, including sibling conflict. According to one of the researchers “there’s been a growing consensus that family violence is a training ground for peer aggression and associated risk behaviours such as substance abuse.” The research also suggests that  for girls depression, rather than peer aggression, may be the mediator between family violence and adolescent substance abuse.

If you have been a victim of domestic or family violence call 1800 000 055 or (03) 9415 9492 or go to www.victimsofcrime.com.au or email support@victimsofcrime.com.au for assistance.

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