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1 in 5 American Men Assault Their Partners

Update Date: Sep 16, 2014 12:50 AM EDT

New research reveals that one in five American men admit to assaulting their spouse or significant other.

Researchers also found some conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, substance abuse and witnessing violence as a child significantly increases the risk of domestic violence.

The latest study used data from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication, which assessed intimate partner violence and characteristics among male perpetrators from 2001 to 2003.

"When people think of men who abuse their partners, they often think of violent people who they have never come across, or people they have only heard about in the news," lead author Vijay Singh, M.D., MPH, MS, a clinical lecturer in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a news release.

"However, our study showed one out of every five men in the U.S. reported physical violence toward an intimate partner. It's likely that we've all met these men in our daily environment. This is an issue that cuts across all communities, regardless of race, income, or any other demographics," added Singh.

"Most of our efforts to prevent intimate partner violence have focused on screening and improving outcomes for women who are victims, because their health and well-being is our priority. Very little work, however, has been done on how to identify male perpetrators," says Singh, who is also a member of the University of Michigan Injury Center and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

"Our research shows that male perpetrators of intimate partner violence seek routine medical services, and they have physical symptoms that are common reasons patients seek medical care. This suggests that we may be missing an important opportunity in the primary care setting to identify their aggressive behavior and potentially intervene."

The latest study involved 580 men living in America who had an average age of 42.

The findings are published in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

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