Do Differences in Heart Rate Distinguish Early- From Later-Onset Offenders?

Michel Lauer, University of Pittsburgh
Rolf Loeber, University of Pittsburgh
Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, University of Pittsburgh
Adrian Raine, University of Southern California

It is well known that low cardiac activity is associated with juvenile delinquency in resting conditions. However, it is not clear how a low heart rate relates to different subgroups of offenders and whether offenders differ in more controlled testing conditions. Do early-onset offenders have a lower heart rate than later-onset offenders? Is there a lower heart rate to be found for serious and violent offenders compared to less serious or non-offenders?: These issues are addressed in the youngest sample of the serious or non-offenders? These issues are addressed in the youngest sample of the Pittsburgh Youth Study. Biological measures were administered when the participants were about 16 years old. Self-reported data on their earlier career was used to distinguish between early- and later-onset offenders. The results are reviewed in the context of other known predictors of early onset offending and theories of attention and also related to what is known about the central nervous system functioning in humans.

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Updated 05/20/2006