(PITTSBURGH) — Participating in high school sports is supposed to build character but it may be having just the opposite effect when teenage boys play football and basketball.
A new National Violence Against Women Survey finds that a hyper-masculine attitude associated with these particular sports can make boys more abusive toward their girlfriends as compared to their male counterparts who play baseball, run track, swim or wrestle.
The researchers had approximately 1,650 California boys in grades 9-12 answers questions about what sports they played, whether they were in relationships that lasted at least a week and if they had physically, verbally, or sexually abused a partner over the past three months.
Of the 276 boys who admitted to taking part in an abusive relationship, those who played football alone were 50 percent more likely to be physically or verbally violent while those involved in both football and basketball were twice as likely to have abused a girl.
Lead study author Heather McCauley of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine explained that these boys may be more prone to relationship violence because of the “power of these sports in society, the misperception that violence is a normal part of dating relationships, and the belief that their peers are doing the same thing.”
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