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Study claims that sports loss increases risk of domestic violence

It sounds somewhat ridiculous, doesn't it? If the team you are rooting for loses a game, you are more likely to abuse your family. That controversial statement comes from a recent study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics and discussed in Time magazine.

Two researchers compared police calls reporting domestic violence and NFL losses that occurred before the calls were made. They claim to have found that when a team that was favored to win a game lost, then the rate of domestic violence increased by about 10 percent.

So, does this mean that a domestic violence suspect will be doubted further by officials simply because he was watching a disappointing sporting event prior to the reported incident? Perhaps that could happen, but hopefully not. Many such suspects are already accused falsely, and the last thing they need is another reason for the system to treat them unfairly.

Actually, however, the researchers behind the study claim that their theory is not meant to put more people in jail for domestic violence. They think that the research shows that an emotional trigger like an unexpected loss can move even the most average person to turn to violence against a loved one. Treatment and prevention in such cases, therefore, should come in the form of counseling and anger management, not jail.

What do you think of this study? Does it surprise you? Do you see any red flags regarding their research and/or theory? Please, feel free to share.


TIME: "Fan Rage: How Home Team Losses Contribute to Domestic Violence," Alice Park, 22 Mar. 2011

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