Women with a lower heart rate could be more likely to commit crimes

Researchers looked at the criminal records of women over 40 years (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

How likely are you to commit a crime?

Well, according to recent research, it could depend on your heart rate

Researchers in Sweden followed the fortunes of almost 12,500 women over 40 years, and found those with a resting heart rate of below 69 beats per minute were 35% more likely to have a criminal conviction compared to those with heart rates over 83bpm.

And while there was no significant relationship between heart rate and violent crime when compared to nonviolent crime, there was between lower blood pressure and violent crime.

The results also showed those with a lower resting heart rate were more likely to suffer unintentional injuries.

Heart rate and blood pressure are both controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which regulates unconscious body processes such as breathing and digestion.

The team, led by Sofi Oskarsson from Örebro University, said their study suggests those with a lower heart rate and blood pressure may be more likely to engage in risky behaviour, and disregard safety – but that their findings should be interpreted with caution.

What impact does a lower heart rate have on behaviour? (Picture: Getty)

Writing in the journal PLOS One, the team said: ‘Lower autonomic arousal is a well-known correlate of criminal offending and other risk-taking behaviours in men, but few studies have investigated this association in women.

‘The reported findings have potential implications for the prediction of future female crime.’

Crime prevention typically focuses on societal factors and personality traits or behaviours, but the team argues it may be necessary to consider biological factors.

The researchers looked at 12,499 Swedish women who joined the military at around 18 years old between 1958 and 1994, at which point they had their heart rates and blood pressure recorded. 

The team then identified any criminal convictions or unintentional injuries related to the women during a period of up to 40 years.

The team said: ‘Our finding that lower resting heart rate was associated with an elevated risk of unintentional injuries among female conscripts is notable in light of prior evidence that lower resting heart rate is also associated with a tendency to engage in extreme sports, such as skydiving, and with risky jobs such as bomb disposal work.’

However, the researchers shared a note of caution when interpreting the findings, as female military volunteers may not accurately represent the general population. 

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