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The Relationship Between Resting Heart Rate and Aggression in Males is Racially Variant

NCJ Number
Aggressive Behavior Volume: 46 Issue: 2 Dated: 2020 Pages: 170-180
Jill Portnoy; J. Richard Jennings; Karen A Matthews; Dustin A Pardini; Adrian Raine
Date Published
11 pages
Since research is limited on whether the link between resting heart rate and aggressive behavior varies by race, the current study addressed this issue by using longitudinal data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study.
Current data are from 197 men who participated in a teenage biosocial study (mean age=15.7 years) and adult follow-up study (mean age=32.1 years). Teenage resting heart rate interacted with race to predict teenage and adult aggression. The relationship between heart rate and aggression was significant in White, but not in Black males. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to find that the relationship between resting heart rate and aggression is racially variant, suggesting that resting heart rate may not be a generalizable biomarker for conduct problems. At an intervention-level, findings could contribute to the development of more accurate risk assessment tools that consider racial variance in risk factors. (publisher abstract modified)