Study links NFL upsets, domestic abuse

Domestic abuse increases after sports teams unexpectedly lose games, U.S. researchers said Tuesday.

Calls to the police reporting men assaulting their wives or partners rose 10 percent in areas where the local NFL team lost a game they were favored to win, said researchers who analyzed 900 regular-season NFL games.

"Our results suggest that the overall rise in violence between the intimate partners we studied is driven entirely by losses in games that matter most to fans," said a co-author of the study, Dr. David Card, of the University of California, Berkeley.

The research, published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, said the timings of calls to police suggested the violence usually occurred within the final hour of a game and the two hours after.

"This is not limited to football," Card added. "Someone who gets a speeding ticket on the way home, for example, might also be more likely to act out in a way he would later regret."