FRIDAY, March 16, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Violence followed Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed police data for 31 Trump rallies in 22 cities and 38 Hillary Clinton rallies in 21 cities in 2016. All of the cities had populations of more than 200,000.
On days when Trump rallies were held, cities had 2.3 more assaults than average. There was no increase in assaults on days when Clinton rallies were held, according to the University of Pennsylvania study.
"News media sources reported there were violent incidents at some campaign rallies, but it was difficult to gauge whether there really was a systematic problem, and if so, how many additional assaults were associated with each rally," said study author Christopher Morrison. He is a fellow in Penn's Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and an epidemiologist in the Injury Science Center.
"To prevent similar violence in the future, it is important to understand the underlying causes of this behavior, perhaps including the role that political rhetoric might play in normalizing or promoting violence," Morrison said in a university news release.
Senior study author Douglas Wiebe, an associate professor in epidemiology, added that "this research provides evidence that this increase in assaults is associated with candidate Trump's rallies leading up to the election."
Wiebe suggested that "violent language may have affected the mood and behavior of rally attendees, as well as those exposed to the rally through news reports and social media."
But the study could not prove that the Trump rallies caused more violence.
The findings were published online March 16 in the journal Epidemiology.
There's more on the science of violent behavior at CureViolence.org.