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October 2015

Low Resting Heart Rate as an Unequivocal Risk Factor for Both the Perpetration of and Exposure to Violence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(10):962-964. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1364

Low resting heart rate (RHR) has for some time been suspected to be a risk factor for crime and violence. One prior meta-analysis of 40 studies with a combined sample of 5868 individuals documented an association between low RHR and high antisocial and aggressive behavior in child and adolescent samples.1 But questions remain. Is low RHR also a robust risk factor for adult violence? Does it prospectively predict violence? And what about less serious offenses such as traffic violations?

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