Does resting heart rate at age 18 distinguish general and violent offending up to age 50? Findings from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development

Wesley G. Jennings, Alex R. Piquero, David P. Farrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: There is a sizable literature documenting the relationship between resting heart rate and antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. Absent from the literature is the extent to which heart rate has long-term prediction into late middle adulthood and the extent to which such effects are specific to certain crime types, such as violence, or whether heart rate effects are more general. Methods: This study uses data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, a longitudinal study of 411 South London males followed through age 50 in order to examine these two research questions. Results: Results suggest that lower heart rates are significantly associated with total conviction frequency and involvement in violence. This pattern of relationships is not altered by the inclusion of additional risk factors such as early childhood risk factors, adolescent involvement in smoking, body mass index, participation in team sports, binge drinking, or a measure of impulsivity. Conclusions: Heart rate was found to be a significant correlate of criminal offending. Study limitations and implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-219
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

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