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Societies 2017, 7(3), 23; doi:10.3390/soc7030023

The Role of Heart Rate Levels in the Intergenerational Transmission of Crime

Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, 1008 BH Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, VU University Amsterdam, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, Leiden University, 2311 EZ Leiden, The Netherlands
Departments of Criminology, Psychiatry, and Psychology, Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 3 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Several prospective multigenerational studies have shown that crime runs in the family, while empirical research on the biological causes of crime has also established that low heart rate is related to antisocial behavior. This study examines whether the intergenerational transmission of crime is moderated or mediated by a low heart rate of the son. Prospectively collected conviction data on 794 men from three consecutive generations of the Dutch Transfive dataset is used. Heart rates were measured around age 18, during the medical examination prior to the mandatory military service in the Dutch army. All analyses were conducted separately for violent and non-violent crime. Both paternal violence and low heart rate levels are associated with increased violent offending. Intergenerational transmission of violence was only found among families in which the son had a low heart rate, although the degree of transmission did not differ significantly from families in which the son had a high heart rate. No support was found for a mediating influence of low heart rates of criminals’ offspring on the intergenerational transmission of crime and violence. The results from this study underline the importance to focus on the interaction between biological risk factors and psychosocial risk factors for criminal behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: heart rate; intergenerational transmission; criminal behavior; violence; biosocial interaction heart rate; intergenerational transmission; criminal behavior; violence; biosocial interaction

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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van de Weijer, S.; de Jong, R.; Bijleveld, C.; Blokland, A.; Raine, A. The Role of Heart Rate Levels in the Intergenerational Transmission of Crime. Societies 2017, 7, 23.

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