New study suggests link between domestic violence and low sugar levels

Relationships|April 21st 2014

Low sugar levels could be a contributing factor in cases of domestic violence, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from several American universities tested 107 married couples with an average age of 36 who had been married for an average of 12 years, asking them to stick pins into dolls when they felt aggressive.

They found that the lower a person’s blood sugar level, the more they displayed signs of aggression which the researchers claimed could be an indicator of the potential for intimate partner violence.

The researchers suggest:

“There…was a link between aggressive impulses and aggressive behaviour. Lower levels of glucose predicted aggressive impulses, which, in turn, predicted aggressive behaviour. These findings remained significant even after controlling for relationship satisfaction and participant sex. Thus, low glucose levels might be one factor that contributes to intimate partner violence.”

The findings are not without controversy. One analysis done by medical organisation Bazian suggested the tests were too abstract to have real world implications and claimed the issue of intimate partner violence was much too complex for the results to be considered concrete.

“[T]his study used highly experimental scenarios, where married couples (with no reported experience of partner violence) were asked to carry out two abstract tests.”

They concluded:

“Intimate partner violence may have varied complex psychological causes, and it cannot be answered by one general simple cause, such as low blood sugar.”

Photo by Ollie T. via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(9)

  1. New study suggests link between domestic violence and low <b>sugar</b> <b>…</b> | Gluco-Solve says:

    […] New study suggests link between domestic violence and low <b>sugar</b> <b>…&… […]

  2. russell armstrong says:

    For what its worth I would have thought that it would have been better to link low blood sugar levels to increased levels of intolerance generally not just within the confines of “domestic violence”.

    Many people who suffer from food intolerances (wheat, gluten etc) can also be hypoglycaemic.

    This is the opposite of diabetes where the pancreas OVER produces insulin. This excess of insulin then plays havoc with tolerance levels in all forms.

    However, this the study may have some very good correlation (to a domestic situation) because if you suffer from a food intolerance AND you are a member of a family then there is a very real chance that that intolerance will be observed in the family first. The term “your like a bear with a sore head” springs to mind, That saying may be linked to alcohol but more specifically any alcohol that is made from wheat or barley, so its not an “alcohol” related issue as such but maybe an intolerance to what the “beer” is made from!!!

    It has nothing to do with domestic violence per se and everything to do with diet leading to aggressive behaviour and unfortunately the family can sometimes bear the brunt of that behaviour. However just check out a work colleague who turns up for work “in a bad/foul mood” the work environment subjects the person in the bad mood to higher levels of control. It forces them to behave in a “better” way, in the family environment there is a lower level of ability to NEED to control yourself (although you must always control yourself)

    For women, many show heightened levels of aggression and intolerance at the time of month, this is not being sexist but as men do not have periods then that is a specific female issue. Men may also have a reciprocal “time of month” at times, but this had never been studied as it not obvious. Either way both men and women at certain times show heightened levels of intolerance and aggression, should we always label the men as “domestically violent” whereas women are allowed to get away with it because they “suffer” periods?

    I experienced food intolerances with my father who was/is highly intolerant to wheat and gluten but is not celiac, but does now follow a celiac type diet regime. I also suffer a mild version of this.

    However these increases in intolerance that leads to heightened aggressive behaviours are no different to those shown by someone who is, 1/ V hungry, 2/ Tired, 3/ under pressure and stress, 4/ Time of month

    Combine any/all of these and then throw in a food intolerance (as opposed but similar to a food allergy which manifests itself in a different way) and you have recipe for a higher tendency to aggressive behaviour (in both women and men).

    However, the behaviour returns back to normal levels of restraint when the conditions are relieved.

    Maybe we need further studies to see how food intolerances effect the welfare and emotional behaviour of humans and from my own personal (family) experience how dedicate alterations to diet can reduce the bad effect for the good.

  3. Andrew says:

    What sort of an excuse is that?

    Still: I suppose if some violent bloke goes and has a sugar-lump instead it may prevent some harm.

    • Stitchedup says:

      Oh Andrew, what sort of comment is that!??!. The poster clearly indicated that women can also be subject to increased levels of intolerance so why point the finger at the “violent bloke”??

      The definition of domestic violence is now absurdly broad and a person, man or woman, who’s a bit on the edge due to low sugar levels or some sort of food intolerance could all too easily find themselves labelled a violent domestic abuser.

      My ex was an absolute night mare during her time of the month, I couldn’t do a thing right, there was nothing I could do to placate her.

      I also agree with this comment:

      “the work environment subjects the person in the bad mood to higher levels of control. It forces them to behave in a “better” way, in the family environment there is a lower level of ability to NEED to control yourself (although you must always control yourself)”

      My ex had frequent low tolerance levels and was described by an HR manager during her appraisal as “not knowing the difference between assertion and aggression”… never a truer word.

      As her careered progressed, she is now a principle officer in local government, it became necessary for her to better control her behaviour in the work environment. However, the off shoot of this was that she would come home and either be passive aggressive, completely silent, like having a ghost around house; or overtly aggressive and vent all her pent up aggression and emotions out on me…..

      Her behaviour could easily fit the new definition of domestic violence but I still loved her because she could also be very loving and affectionate. I put up with her mood swings and behaviour because she was the mother of my children, we were a family, people have there ups and downs and so do relationships. Unfortunately, when a relationship breaks down and solicitors get involved, the gamesmanship and finger pointing starts and allegations of domestic abuse start flying.

  4. Luke says:

    This sounds like another excuse to avoid accountability – it reminds me of kleptomania – there aren’t many recorded cases of people secretly sneaking goods that they have bought back into the shops that they have bought them from is there ? 🙂

  5. Andrew says:

    Fair enough, Stitchedup, for “violent bloke” substitute “angry so-and-so”.

  6. russell says:

    @ Andrew & Luke
    Sorry guys your barking up the wrong tree. Any person (woman or man) can have a tendency to violence (its in humans nature its a product of evolution) however we in civilised society have managed to be able to control this tendency. What I am saying is that at higher stress levels this ability to KEEP control is lessened. So a person effected by stress or food intolerances can loose the ability to keep control.
    The level of that loss of control is then the determining factor in deciding what is and is not acceptable.
    However what stichup is saying (I think) is that the bar to determine DV is no so low that a couple who are having an argument and end up shouting at each other are also being domestically abusive to each other.
    So hands up who has never ever never shouted at some time when in a heated argument with your partner?

  7. luke says:

    “What I am saying is that at higher stress levels this ability to KEEP control is lessened. So a person effected by stress or food intolerances can loose the ability to keep control.”
    ============================================================

    Yes Russell, I know what you are saying and what I am saying is that I fundamentally don’t agree with you – I regard these as excuses and people looking to dodge accountability.

    Of course I also don’t regard shouting as domestic violence anyway – I think domestic violence has to include some physical act – I don’t care what these idiots who attempt to redefine it think.

  8. Stitchedup says:

    @Russel: “However what stichup is saying (I think) is that the bar to determine DV is no so low that a couple who are having an argument and end up shouting at each other are also being domestically abusive to each other.”

    That is what I’m saying but like yourself and Luke I don’t regard raising your voice or shouting as domestic violence. We are human beings with emotions and those emotions can be heightened by events that to an extent are out of our control, perhaps including low sugar levels.

    As you rightly point out “The level of that loss of control is then the determining factor in deciding what is and is not acceptable.”

    The main issue I have with all this nonsense is that the first time many people encounter allegations of domestic abuse/violence is during relationship breakdown and divorce/separation which is a highly emotional time anyway. Many people are facing the prospect of losing a partner they may still love, loosing meaningful contact with their children and seeing everything they have worked towards for 20 or 30 years decimated….. they could be fairly described as vulnerable and should not be made the target of gagging orders.

    Once solicitors get involved and the non-mol games start “The level of that loss of control” determining what is and is not acceptable is quickly reduced to talking, having a disagreement about the selling price of the family home or texting to say you’re going to be late picking up the kids for a contact handover…. totally absurd!!

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