Low resting heart rate is a well-replicated physiological correlate of aggressive and antisocial behavior in children and adolescents, but whether low resting heart rate increases the risk of violence and other antisocial and risk-taking behaviors in adulthood has not been studied in representative samples.
In models adjusted for physical, cardiovascular, psychiatric, cognitive, and socioeconomic covariates, compared with 139 511 men in the highest quintile of the distribution of resting heart rate (≥83 beats/min), 132 595 men with the lowest quintile (heart rate, ≤60 beats/min) had a 39% (95% CI, 35%-44%) higher hazard of being convicted of violent crimes and a 25% (95% CI, 23%-28%) higher hazard of being convicted of nonviolent crimes. The corresponding hazard was 39% higher for assault injuries (95% CI, 33%-46%) and for unintentional injuries (95% CI, 38%-41%). Further adjustment for cardiorespiratory fitness in a subset of 572 610 men with data from an exercise test did not reduce the associations. Similar associations were found between low systolic blood pressure and violent and nonviolent criminality and for assault injuries when systolic blood pressure was studied instead of resting heart rate in more than 1 million men.
- 1Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden2Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
- 2Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
- 3Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden3Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Lung and Allergy Unit, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.