David Kerr and Deborah Capaldi of the Oregon State University in Corvallis suggested for some men violence may be related to a history of impulsive aggression that includes self-harm.
"The study began when these men were kids, before anyone knew who was going to become violent," study Kerr said in a statement. "That is quite different from research that starts with violent men, or women from a domestic violence shelter, and tries to look back in time for explanations."
Kerr, Capaldi and colleagues looked at data for 153 males from higher-crime neighborhoods -- assessed yearly from ages 10-32 -- as well as their romantic partners when the men were ages 18-25.
The study, published in Psychological Medicine, found 58 percent of youth who attempted suicide went on to injure a partner, vs. 23 percent of young men who did not attempt suicide and were not violent toward partners later in life.
After controlling for factors linked to violence -- such as aggression and substance use -- young men who attempted suicide were still found to be more aggressive toward their partners.